Energy giants Inpex, Total approve $34-bn Ichthys LNG project in Australia

Energy giants, Japan's Inpex Corp and Total SA of France have agreed to invest $34 billion over the next five years in building the Ichthys liquefied natural gas project, which would become one of the world's biggest liquefied natural gas (LNG) facilities and one of Australia's most expensive energy projects.

The final investment decision was announced yesterday by Inpex chairman Naoki Kuroda in Darwin, the site of the onshore gas processing facilities, which will be built to produce 8.4 million tonnes of LNG per annum.

The Ichthys LNG Project is a joint venture between Inpex, which is the operator, and Total. Inpex holds a 76-per cent stake in Ichthys, while Total holds the remaining 24 per cent.

Inpex recently agreed to sell a 1.575 per cent stake to Tokyo Gas.

Ichthys will tap a remote deepwater field off Australia's northern coast in the Browse Basin offshore Western Australia containing an estimated 12.8 trillion cubic feet of natural gas

Gas from the Ichthys will undergo preliminary processing offshore and then exported to the onshore processing facilities in Darwin via an 889km pipeline.

The Ichthys LNG Project is expected to produce 8.4 million tonnes of LNG and 1.6 million tonnes of LPG per annum, along with approximately 100,000 barrels of condensate per day at peak.