Outline plans for a floating LNG project in SE Asia have been accepted by Australian independent Cott Oil and Gas to help it tap into reserves in the remote Pandora gas field offshore Papua New Guinea.

Australian-listed Cott has indicated investment costs of between US $1.15 and $1.58 billion would be necessary for facilities needed to exploit Pandora, based on using either an FLNG vessel equipped to produce 1 MMtpa of LNG, or with a near-shore LNG vessel capable of producing up to 2.5 MMtpa, hooked up to a buoyant tower processing platform – with dry wellheads – and an export pipeline.

Pandora was discovered in 1988 about 200 km (125 miles) offshore in the Bay of Papua, west of Port Moresby. Although not deepwater (water depth is about 120 m), the field in the PRL 38 license area is thought to contain 2C contingent resources of 800 Bcf.

Cott, which has 40% equity in Pandora, already has non-binding agreements with potential LNG participants which could help develop the field. The others partners are Talisman Energy, which has 25% equity and is the operator of PRL 38. Kina Petroleum holds 25% in the license and Santos has 10%.

Recently Cott received a final FLNG conceptual development study for Pandora from contractor Wison Offshore and Marine, which Cott says offers two technically and commercially feasible concepts.

One is a 1 MMtpa FLNG vessel using an external turret mooring system, with capacity for gas liquefaction and storage, connected to three subsea completed production wells.

Wison’s concept study offers a second proposal to use a near-shore LNG vessel, with up to 2.5 MMtpa of liquefaction capacity, which could offer lower cost gas liquefaction through reduced mooring and offloading costs. This would require a buoyant tower to provide gas processing, but would offer the benefit of dry well completions and therefore the option for lower-cost well workovers and maintenance.