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Shell Australia, a subsidiary of oil major Shell, has submitted an environment plan (EP) to the country’s offshore regulator for the installation and cold commissioning activities on the Crux natural gas field off the coast of Western Australia.

The National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environmental Management Authority (NOPSEMA) has confirmed that Shell recently submitted the environment plan, proposing to undertake the installation of the Crux pipeline, substructure, and topside, including all tie-ins, cold commissioning, contingent and supporting activities within production license AC/L10 and pipeline licenses WA-33-PL and AC/PL1.

These activities are scheduled to be undertaken from around late–2024 to 2028, excluding the preservation period, pending regulatory approvals and project schedule interfaces. This is estimated to be completed in approximately three years with activities occurring in multiple work packages. This EP provides for inspection, maintenance, and repair (IMR) activities that may occur during the preservation period.

Furthermore, the major work packages and estimated durations, subject to vessel availability, operational efficiencies, and weather conditions, encompass the installation and cold commission of the export pipeline which is expected to take around five months; and the installation and cold commission of the Prelude–end flexible riser and umbilical lasting approximately six weeks.

In addition, this will also entail the installation of the Crux substructure which is slated to last about three months; the installation of topsides occurring over around five months; Crux topsides tie-ins and cold commissioning activities taking approximately two years; and the staged preservation period.
Shell explains that each work package will be executed 24 hours a day, seven days a week, subject to operational and safety considerations. The oil major sees cold commissioning and preserving the Crux project infrastructure as critical to maintaining the integrity of the infrastructure before operations with produced hydrocarbons begin.

The Shell-operated Crux development, sanctioned in May 2022, is located in Commonwealth waters in the northern Browse Basin, 190 kilometers offshore northwest Australia and 620 km northeast of Broome, in approximately 165 meters of water depth.

The project is being progressed by the Crux joint venture, which comprises Shell Australia as the operator and SGH Energy as its joint venture partner. The first environmental approval for Crux was the Crux Offshore Project Proposal (OPP), which was accepted in August 2020 by NOPSEMA

The operator has identified the Crux gas field as a source of backfill gas for the existing Prelude floating liquefied natural gas (FLNG) facility. As a result, Crux will have the capacity to supply the Prelude FLNG facility with up to 550 million standard cubic feet of gas per day (mmscfd).

Shell outlines that the development of the project will consist of a platform operated remotely from Prelude while five wells are expected to be drilled initially. An export pipeline will connect the platform to Prelude, which is around 160 kilometers southwest of Crux. The first gas is anticipated in 2027.

The energy giant picked a cloud-based master data build and optimization software from ABL in February 2024 to be deployed across various new projects, including Crux, to achieve asset management efficiencies.


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