BPT 0.76% $1.66 beach energy limited

bmg field much larger than first thought

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    June 27, 2007 02:15am
    BASS Strait oil producers Beach Petroleum and Anzon Australia have given up a 15-year gas supply deal, potentially worth $600 million, to focus on the more lucrative oil business.

    The two companies will defer gas production from the Basker Manta Gummy project in Bass Strait - originally slated for 2009 - and put more work into evaluating the oil and gas fields.

    Beach managing director Reg Nelson said yesterday the fields were "very much larger than we first thought".

    Beach had signed a 15-year agreement to sell gas from the project to Alinta, but the deal was contingent on a final investment decision on the gas development being reached this month.

    Alinta had planned to pipe the gas to Tasmania to feed a new 200MW gas-fired power station. That project is now under review.

    Anzon and Beach began selling oil from Basker Manta in January last year, breaking BHP Billiton and Esso's decades-long stranglehold on the Bass Strait.

    Mr Nelson said the gas project, estimated to cost $500 million, would have yielded only a "modest return".

    Anzon and Beach are now considering replacing the floating production, storage and offtake vessel and shuttle tanker they have been using with a larger vessel
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