Woodside Energy has started processing gas ahead of schedule from its Pluto field offshore its native Australia at the North West Shelf Project’s (NWS) Karratha Gas Plant (KGP).

This accelerated production of Pluto gas has been enabled by the start-up of the Pluto-KGP Interconnector, Woodside said on Thursday.

The Interconnector is a 3.2-kilometre pipeline that connects Pluto LNG with KGP, providing for third party gas to be processed at the plant

“The start-up of the Interconnector supports the accelerated production of gas from the first phase of Pluto’s Pyxis Hub by enabling it to be processed at KGP. Ready for start-up was achieved for the first phase of Pyxis Hub in October 2021,” noted Woodside.

KGP is expected to process approximately 2.5 million tonnes of LNG in aggregate and approximately 20 petajoules of domestic gas from Pluto in from 2022 to 2025.

This follows the exercise by Woodside of a contract reduction option under the gas processing agreement it entered into with the NWS Project participants in December 2020.

Woodside chief executive Meg O’Neill said the accelerated production from the offshore Pluto fields through the Interconnector is a significant achievement.

“The start-up of the Pluto-KGP Interconnector provides access to spare capacity at Karratha Gas Plant to process gas owned by other resource owners, both onshore and offshore Western Australia. The commencement of Pluto gas flowing through the Interconnector is the first example of this.

“The processing of gas from the offshore Pluto fields through Karratha Gas Plant enables Woodside to deliver additional LNG cargoes into the international gas market,” said O’Neill.

“The commercial agreements underpinning third-party gas processing at the North West Shelf reflect the commitment of Woodside and the North West Shelf Project to maximising value from the significant infrastructure on the Burrup Peninsula.”

The NWS partners are operator Woodside, BHP Petroleum, BP, Chevron, Japan Australia LNG (MIMI) and Shell, each with a 16.67% interest.

Woodside holds a 90% interest in Pluto LNG on behalf of co-venturers Tokyo Gas and Kansai Electric Power and operates the Pluto LNG facilities.

The Pluto-KGP Interconnector pipeline was constructed and is operated by AGI Operations.