Exxon Mobil Corp. (NYSE: XOM) said Dec. 12 that it has made a final investment decision to develop the West Barracouta gas field in Bass Strait to bring new gas supplies to the Australian domestic market. The project, located in the VIC/L1 block offshore Victoria, is part of the company’s continuing investment in the Gippsland Basin.

The company recently completed FEED work for the project, which is part of the Esso-BHP Gippsland Basin Joint Venture (JV), and awarded contracts to Subsea 7 and OneSubsea, a Schlumberger company. The project will be tied back to the existing Barracouta infrastructure offshore in Bass Strait, the first offshore field ever discovered in Australia.

“We continue to use advanced technology, along with our extensive, decades-long understanding of the Gippsland Basin, to ensure full potential of the resource can be realized,” said Neil W. Duffin, president of ExxonMobil Production Co. “Our objective is to produce West Barracouta gas for the Australian domestic gas market by 2021.”

The Gippsland Basin JV continues to supply about 40% of east coast Australian domestic gas demand.

The new project builds on more than US$4 billion (AUD $5.5 billion) invested by the Gippsland Basin JV in other recent projects in Victoria to supply Australian domestic gas demand, including the Kipper Tuna Turrum offshore project and the Longford Gas Conditioning Plant.

“The Gippsland Basin Joint Venture has 50 years of experience in Bass Strait,” said Richard Owen, chairman ExxonMobil Australia. “Since the first Bass Strait well was drilled in 1965, about four billion barrels of crude oil and eight trillion cubic feet of natural gas have been produced.”

Exxon Mobil subsidiary Esso Australia Pty Ltd. operates the Gippsland Basin JV on behalf of a 50-50 JV with BHP Billiton Petroleum (Bass Strait) Pty Ltd.