The West Barracouta gas field commenced production in April 2021. Image courtesy of Exxon Mobil.
The West Barracouta field development involves two gas production wells and associated subsea production facilities. Image courtesy of The CarbonNet Project.
Noble Tom Prosser jack-up drilling rig completed the drilling of two West Barracouta production wells in April 2020. Image courtesy of MMA Offshore Limited.

The West Barracouta gas field located off the Gippsland coast, Victoria, Australia commenced production to start supplying gas to the Eastern Australian gas market in April 2021.

The offshore sweet gas field is being developed by Gippsland Basin Joint Venture (GBJV), a 50:50 partnership between ExxonMobil’s subsidiary Esso Australia and BHP Billiton Petroleum. Esso Australia is the field operator.

The final investment decision (FID) for the West Barracouta gas field development involving two gas production wells and associated subsea production facilities was reached in December 2018.

The gas production from the field is intended for domestic consumption in Australia. The total investment on the project is estimated to be approximately £230m (A$400m).

Location and discovery

The West Barracouta field is located in 46m-deep waters, in the VIC/L1 block in the Gippsland Basin, Bass Strait, offshore Victoria, Australia.

It lies to the west of the Barracouta field, which was discovered in March 1965 and commenced gas production in 1969. The Barracouta platform is located approximately 23km off the coast of Gippsland, while the West Barracouta wells are located approximately 6km southwest of the existing Barracouta platform.

West Barracouta development details

The West Barracouta field comprises two subsea gas production wells, two subsea trees each weighing over 50t, and associated subsea equipment, including a pipeline-end manifold and pipeline skid, umbilical termination assembly, jumpers, and flying leads.

The West Barracouta subsea production facilities receive electricity, hydraulic fluid, and chemicals from the eight-legged Barracouta platform through a 6km-long subsea umbilical system, while the gas produced from the West Barracouta wells is sent through a 5.45km-long, 12in-diameter subsea flowline connected to the Barracouta pipeline through hot tapping.

The Barracouta pipeline transports gas onshore to the gas plants in Longford, in the Gippsland region of Victoria.

Contracts awarded

Noble Corporation was contracted to drill two subsea production wells for the project which was completed in April 2020 through the deployment of the Noble Tom Prosser jack-up drilling rig.

MMA Offshore received a three-vessel contract for supporting the Noble Tom Prosser Rig in November 2019. The three vessels include two anchor handlers, MMA Vision and MMA Coral, and a platform supply vessel, MMA Leeuwin. The support services were provided from Barry Beach Marine Terminal in Victoria, Australia.

Subsea Integration Alliance bagged the integrated subsea engineering, procurement, construction, installation, and commissioning (EPCIC) contracts for the project from Esso Australia in January 2019. Subsea Integration Alliance is a strategic global alliance between Subsea 7 and OneSubsea.

The contract scope of Subsea 7 included project management, engineering, procurement, construction, and installation of two production wells and an electrohydraulic umbilical from the Barracouta platform to the West Barracouta drill centre.

OneSubsea was responsible for the installation of two vertical monobore on-wellhead production trees, wellheads, and controls. Subsea 7 Seven Eagle diving support vessel was deployed for executing the project.

Bhagwan Marine was engaged in the environmental, seabed, as well as geotechnical surveys for the project.