Pluto LNG expansion project includes the expansion of the Pluto LNG facility located on the Burrup Peninsula near Karratha, Western Australia. The facility is proposed to be expanded by adding a second LNG train of five million tonnes per annum (Mtpa) capacity.

The existing 4.9Mtpa Pluto LNG terminal was built with an estimated investment of $5.4bn and has been operational since March 2012.

Woodside Petroleum, Australia’s biggest natural gas producer, holds 90% interest and is the operator of Pluto LNG, while Tokyo Gas and Kansai Electric hold 5% stake each in the project.

The front-end engineering and design (FEED) contract for the Pluto LNG train two was awarded in December 2018, while the final investment decision (FID) on the expansion project is expected in 2020.

Expected to be brought on stream in 2024, the Pluto LNG train two will increase the total production capacity of the LNG facility to 9.9Mtpa.

Pluto LNG project location and site details

Pluto LNG export facility is located on a 200ha site on the Burrup Peninsula near Karratha, Western Australia.

The feed gas for the Pluto LNG train one is supplied from the Pluto and Xena offshore gas fields situated in the North Caravon Basin, approximately 190km north-west of the city of Karratha.

Pluto LNG expansion and Scarborough gas field development

The Pluto LNG expansion project involves the addition of a 5Mtpa LNG train near the existing facility, which will receive feed gas from the proposed Scarborough gas field development located 375km west-northwest of the Burrup Peninsula.

The Scarborough gas field is estimated to contain 7.3 trillion cubic feet (tcf) of recoverable dry gas resources. The offshore field is planned to be developed with 12 subsea gas production wells to be tied-back to a semi-submersible floating production unit moored in 900m-deep waters.

The gas produced from the field will be transported to Pluto LNG’s second liquefaction facility through a 430km-long pipeline.

Woodside proposes to build a pipeline to transport gas from the expanded Pluto LNG facility to the North West Shelf Project’s Karratha Gas Plant (KGP) to fill short-term spare capacity at the latter. The 5km-long and 30in-diameter interconnector pipeline will be capable of transporting 4.5Mtpa of wet gas.

Pluto LNG infrastructure details

The operational Pluto LNG facility comprises a 4.9Mtpa LNG train, two LNG storage tanks of 240,000m³ combined capacity, and three condensate tanks of 130,000m³of storage capacity.

The other infrastructure facilities for the Pluto LNG Project include a fractionation unit, an acid gas recovery unit, gas purification units, a boil-off gas compressor, a gas-fired power generation facility, marine loading berths, and a shipping channel.

The Pluto LNG operations are remotely monitored from the Pluto Support Centre located in Perth.

The feed gas for the Pluto LNG processing plant is sourced through a 180km-long, 36in-diameter pipeline connecting the Pluto offshore platform located in 85m-deep waters.

The Pluto offshore platform processes the gas production from the Pluto as well as the neighboring Xena offshore gas fields in the North Caravon Basin.

The Pluto LNG facility, capable of producing 25 terajoules of gas a day, has delivered more than 400 LNG cargoes since it began operations in 2012. It also started domestic gas supply in December 2018, with the commissioning of the Pluto domestic pipeline, which connects with the  Dampier-to-Bunbury natural gas pipeline.

Contractors involved

Bechtel was awarded the front-end engineering and design (FEED) contract for the Pluto LNG train two in December 2018.

A joint venture of Amec Foster Wheeler and Worley Parsons was the engineering, procurement, construction, and management (EPCM) contractor for the Pluto LNG train one. The same joint venture performed the FEED study for the project in 2007.

Leighton Contractors was contracted for site preparation and bulk earth works for the LNG project site in 2007, while Mondford and BGC Contracting were engaged for civil construction works for the project.

CB&I (now McDermott) provided two LNG storage tanks, three condensate tanks, and associated civil, piping and instrumentation works for the Pluto LNG train one project, as part of a $373m contract awarded in October 2007.