Japanese operator Inpex is looking beyond the Ichthys field for other sources of gas that it can develop through its mighty Ichthys LNG export facility in northern Australia.

Chris Wilson, Inpex Australia's senior vice president, operations, told delegates at Informa's SEAAOC conference in Darwin that the Ichthys project is still in its early stages, given it is designed for a 40-year life.

The Ichthys joint venture is drilling and adding new production wells and subsea infrastructure, and will soon begin project execution of a gas compression module to install on the giant offshore platform.

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More wells and subsea equipment will be required as part of the full-field development, Wilson said.

"The long design life and the land we have for additional trains in Darwin gives us an opportunity to look beyond the Ichthys field for other sources of gas that we can develop," he added.

"This starts with an exploration portfolio centred in the Browse basin, which includes a number of prospects and discoveries that we intend to mature with our partners over the next few years.

"But additionally, there are other discovered resources — owned by others — in the area that are currently stranded, and we are looking for partnerships with the assets' owners to help them develop through our facilities.

"We will continue to explore all options and hope to offer win-win solutions for all parties."

Upstream asked Inpex about its exploration and appraisal drilling plans, and which undeveloped discoveries are at the front of the development queue, but the company was unable to provide specifics.

In its first-half financial results, Inpex said it has interests in 17 exploration blocks in the vicinity of the Ichthys LNG project. To date, multiple gas reservoirs have been found in discoveries including Crown, Lasseter, Mimia and Burnside.

The Ichthys project is designed to produce 8.9 million tonnes per annum of liquefied natural gas, 1.65 million tpa of liquefied petroleum gas and 100,000 barrels per day of condensate at peak.

Another Inpex initiative that Wilson mentioned is the reduction of CO2 emissions from its operations via carbon capture and storage.

The company is evaluating the feasibility of sequestering CO2 captured at the Ichthys LNG plant in Darwin, with an injection site to be selected based on a detailed evaluation.

Wilson also said the offshore Petrel sub-basin in the Bonaparte basin has the potential to be a geological storage aquifer.

"We believe it could be a long-term storage option for LNG projects like Ichthys and Barossa, but also for applications such as blue hydrogen."

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