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Offshore projects

Esso Australia, a subsidiary of ExxonMobil Australia, is planning on undertaking a program of work across some of its offshore assets, including those owned jointly by the Gippsland Basin Joint Venture, in 2018 and 2019. This program forms part of Esso’s ongoing investment in exploring domestic gas development opportunities to ensure that we can continue to meet Australia’s energy needs.

VIC/P70 drilling program
Esso is undertaking an exploration drilling program in the VIC/P70 block, approximately 90km off the East Gippsland Victorian coast. The program will involve drilling two exploration wells, known as Baldfish and Hairtail.  

All regulatory requirements are in place with the Environmental Plan accepted by NOPSEMA on 4 July 2018. A summary is available on the NOPSEMA  website and on the ExxonMobil Australia website.

The drilling program is expected to start in the second half of 2018 and continue for approximately 60 days, using the Ocean Monarch mobile offshore drilling unit (MODU).

VIC/L20 Blackback
Esso is undertaking a project to work on the Blackback wells also using the Ocean Monarch MODU. The program is expected to start in the second half of 2018 and continue for approximately 60 days. (Well  coordinates: Latitude 38° 32’ south, Longitude 148° 33’ east).

VIC/L1 development
Esso is examining options to develop a gas field in block VIC/L1 known as West Barracouta, approximately 6km south west of the existing Barracouta platform. The project is likely to involve  the drilling of two subsea wells within one petroleum safety zone, which will be tied back to our existing Barracouta infrastructure in Bass Strait.

To support the project’s development, Esso has conducted environmental and seabed surveys and geotechnical surveys are planned to be completed the first half of 2019 (previously planned for 2018), subject to regulatory approval. The results of these surveys will be used to assess the location of the well sites and flowline and umbilical routes.

VIC/L05 Cobia Pipeline project
The Cobia Pipeline project will undertake maintenance and repair works on the Cobia pipeline, which runs from the Cobia platform to the Halibut platform in Bass Strait. The offshore work for this project is planned to be carried out by the Seven Eagle, a dive support vessel, in December 2018 and will take approximately two weeks.

VIC/L05 Mackerel and other platform based activities

Esso is also considering work on the Mackerel wells with the program expected to begin in November 2018 and continue for approximately 10 months (Platform coordinates: Latitude 38° 27’ south, 148° 18’ east), with various platform based  activities scheduled throughout 2019 to 2022.

VIC/L25 and VIC/L9 Kipper 1B and Pilchard
Esso and its Kipper Unit Joint Venture partners  are planning to drill a number of additional wells at Kipper (Well coordinates: Latitude 38°  11’ south, Longitude 148° 36’ east).  These wells were part of the original Kipper plan and are referred to as Stage 1B.  The current schedule is for the Kipper 1B wells to be drilled  in 2020.

Learn more about the projects in our latest fact sheet.

You can also send us an email at or call (03) 9261 0260 if you would like to discuss this project.

Having completed the largest single investment into Australia’s domestic gas market, the $5.5 billion Kipper Tuna Turrum Project, as well as the $400 million replacement pipeline project, Esso is pleased to continue investing in its Gippsland operations, bringing new domestic gas supplies to market and creating jobs.