Australian independent Santos has confirmed a Covid-19 outbreak aboard its Bayu-Undan platform in the Timor Sea.

A Santos spokesperson confirmed to Upstream on Friday “a small number of workers” on the platform had returned positive rapid antigen tests in the past 24-hours, but were currently asymptomatic.

“As has been the case across all our assets, our Covid-19 health and safety protocols have been implemented to protect everyone on the facility,” the spokesperson added.

“While waiting for PCR results to confirm their status, the workers are isolating and there are no additional close contacts.”

The spokesperson added that Bayu-Undan production had not been impacted as a result of the apparent outbreak.

The Bayu-Undan platform lies in Timor-Leste waters but gas from the field is sent about 500 kilometres via pipeline to Santos’ onshore Darwin liquefied natural gas plant in Australia’s Northern Territory.

Bayu-Undan has been feeding the 3.7 million tonne per annum Darwin LNG facility since 2006, but is nearing the end of its economic life.

Santos’ Barossa development, which lies in Australian waters, is set to extend the life of the LNG facility when it starts up in 2025.

However, Santos is planning to utilise the depleted reservoirs at the Bayu-Undan field for a carbon capture and storage project to help offset the emissions of its Barossa development.

According to Santos, the existing wells at Bayu-Undan can be repurposed for carbon dioxide injection, while the pipeline that runs to the onshore Darwin LNG plant is already capable of handling CO2.

Santos believes a CCS development at Bayu-Undan has the potential to store roughly 10 million tonnes per annum of CO2.

The Australian company anticipates to capture about 2.3 million tpa of CO2 from Barossa and Darwin LNG, leaving plenty of capacity to open up the CCS development to third party access.

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