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Australian Equus gas project to start production in 2024

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The Equus gas project in Australia is on track to produce first gas in 2024 with the completion of its upstream to LNG development plan and the start of project financing, Perth-based oil and gas company Western Gas said Wednesday.

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The development plan comprises three production wells connected to a floating production, storage and offloading facility, a 160 km gas pipeline to a 2 million mt/year floating LNG facility and onshore pipelines, the company said.

Privately held Western Gas previously said it plans to make a final investment decision on the project in late 2019 or early 2020.

The Equus gas project comprises 11 natural gas and condensate fields in the Carnarvon Basin, about 200 kilometers northwest of Onslow, Western Australia, with a reserve estimate of more than 2 Tcf of gas and 42 million barrels of condensate, according to the company.

Western Gas acquired Equus from Hess Corp in November 2017 and now fully owns the project. The Carnarvon Basin is near the Pluto, Wheatstone and Gorgon projects that have helped make Australia one of the world's largest LNG exporters.

After a wave of large-scale LNG projects, the focus has shifted to new discoveries and small and mid-scale hydrocarbon projects.

Australia's Carnarvon basin and the Bonaparte basin off the northwestern coast are the busiest areas for oil drilling activity, with the Carnarvon and Perth basins accounting for 68% of the country's crude and condensate production in fiscal 2016, according to the US energy department.

Western Gas has appointed Goldman Sachs as financial advisor for the Equus partnering process.

"The partnering process together with the preparation of the project work packages will deliver Western Gas with the financial, project delivery and operational expertise to drive Equus into production in 2024," executive director Andrew Leibovitch said in a statement.

-- Nathan Richardson,

-- Edited by James Burgess,