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Viva Energy, Woodside plan Australian LNG regasification terminal in Geelong

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Viva Energy, Woodside plan Australian LNG regasification terminal in Geelong

Western Australia's LNG powerhouse Woodside is in talks with energy firm Viva about supplying LNG to the latter's proposed regasification terminal in the eastern state of Victoria, in the port city of Geelong, the companies said in separate statements released Dec. 9.

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Viva also announced it has signed a heads of agreement with Norway's Hoegh LNG to charter a floating storage and regasification unit for the proposed terminal.

Woodside and Viva entered into a memorandum of understanding, which sets out the terms for discussion of a capacity rights agreement at the terminal, which could see Woodside supply LNG to the gas strapped east coast market.

Viva is planning to make a final investment decision on the project in the July-September quarter of 2022 with an aim of helping to address an expected shortfall in gas supply in the region from the mid-2020s. Viva envisions potential first gas in 2024.

The Geelong project is one of five proposed import projects for Australia's east coast.

It is unlikely that all will go ahead. In Australia's first full National Gas Infrastructure Plan released Nov. 26, the Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources said that Australian Industrial Energy's New South Wales Port Kembla Gas Terminal is the most advanced, with all necessary approvals in place for construction to begin.

PKGT has a maximum daily capacity of 530 TJ/day and an annual potential supply of 115 PJ/year and could see gas available to market by mid-2023.

Viva's project is planned to be able to supply 140 PJ/year.

The outlook for where Australia's future gas will come from and the degree of need for import projects is somewhat unclear as the DISER notes, at least one new basin will be required to be unlocked and the geology and reservoir characteristics for them are not well understood.

"Woodside's participation in the Gas Terminal Project highlights the value of LNG terminals as 'virtual pipelines' to deliver LNG from Australia and other sources into the east coast domestic market. This can be achieved more efficiently and with lower environmental impact than building new pipeline infrastructure to transport gas from the other domestic gas sources to the east coast Australian gas market," Viva's CEO Scott Wyatt said in the release.

The next step for Viva is to submit an environmental statement, which the company expects to finalize by the end of the year. It will then be released to the public early next year.