Federal authorities have agreed to operate and maintain an embattled offshore oil and gas development until it is sold.
Incoming Federal Resources Minister Keith Pitt has confirmed the Commonwealth Government has started selling Northern Oil and Gas Australia’s Northern Endeavour Floating Production Storage and Offloading Vessel in the Timor Sea, about 360km north off the shore of Western Australia’s Kimberley Coast.
“The liquidation of the Northern Oil and Gas Australia group of companies highlights the importance to the nation of our oil and gas industries, which are a valuable source of exports and vital for our energy security,” Pitt said in a public statement.
“We must maintain our strong reputation for environmental protections and safe operations.”
The announcement came after the government resorted to the unprecedented measure of signing a new agreement with Upstream Production Solutions (UPS) to operate and maintain the vessel.
“UPS has safely reboarded the Northern Endeavour and reports that the facility is safe and secure,” Pitt said. “The Australian Government will now start consultations with industry experts to consider a longer-term resolution to the situation.”
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Petroleum production is suspended indefinitely while the vessel has been maintained and operated by a skeleton crew since November 2019.
“It was essential that we re-crewed the Northern Endeavour quickly, to maintain the safety of the vessel and the surrounding Timor Sea environment and that has been done,” the minister said.
“Lighthouse mode operations will support the vessel and the associated subsea infrastructure and critical maintenance will be undertaken as required.”