Esso and BHP Billiton commemorate 40 years of gas and oil from Bass Strait

29 April 2009

Melbourne: Esso Australia, an ExxonMobil Australia subsidiary, and BHP Billiton this month commemorate 40 years of oil and gas production from Bass Strait, a milestone that recognises the significant contribution of Bass Strait to this nation.

It’s been four decades since the first gas from Bass Strait was piped to homes and businesses in Melbourne via the processing plant at Longford. The first home was connected to natural gas on April 14, 1969, making front-page news right around the country. First oil flowed later that same year.

Now, almost four billion barrels of crude oil and seven trillion cubic feet of natural gas have been produced since the first well was drilled in the Strait.

“Esso and BHP Billiton are proud of our 40 year association with the Victorian community via our operations in Bass Strait,” said Esso Australia Chairman Mark Nolan.

“It’s an association and a proud partnership that we’re sure will continue for decades to come,” added BHP Billiton Petroleum Vice President, David Banks.

The Bass Strait operations have been a significant contributor to the economic development of Australia, creating approximately 50,000 permanent jobs and generating around A$300 billion in Federal Government revenues in real terms, some 2.1 percent of all government revenues collected in that period.

“The future remains bright for Esso’s Bass Strait operations, its dedicated workforce and the Victorian community with the multi-billion dollar Kipper and Turrum projects set to begin in 2011,” Mr Nolan said. “The Kipper Project, near Ninety Mile Beach on the Gippsland coast, holds about 620 billion cubic feet of natural gas and 30 million barrels of condensate/LPG. The Turrum Project plans to develop another trillion cubic feet of gas and 110 million barrels of oil and gas liquids.

“Together, the two projects have enough energy to power an entire city of a million people for at least 35 years,” Mr Nolan said. “We also have ongoing exploration, drilling and evaluation programs, which are already proving to be successful in increasing production from existing fields.

“Even after 40 years of production, Bass Strait still has a long life, and we expect to be producing oil and gas for Australians for many more decades.”

The Bass Strait oil and gas fields and associated production and processing facilities are owned by Esso Australia Resources (a subsidiary of ExxonMobil Australia) and BHP Billiton in a 50:50 joint venture arrangement. Esso is the Operator.

Media contact: Rebecca Arnold +61 3 9270 3478 or +61 400 511 247