The North West Shelf Gas Project is one of the most advanced integrated gas production systems in the world. Located nearly 1300km north of Perth on Withnell Bay near the port of Dampier.
The visitor centre gives a fantastic overview of the NWS (North West Shelf) Gas Project and the facilities associated with it. The centre is located on a raised spot looking across to the Karratha Gas Plant.
The Karratha Gas Plant produces Liquid Natural Gas (or LNG) for domestic gas use, condensate and LPG. Hydrocarbons are piped from offshore reserves in the Carnarvon Basin off the Western Australian coast.
Some of the hydrocarbons are processed onshore for domestic gas, which is transported via the 1600km Dampier to Bunbury Natural Gas Pipeline. The North West Shelf Gas Project produces the majority of Western Australia’s total gas production and supplies oil and gas to the rest of Australia and internationally.
The project is Australia’s largest oil and gas resource development and one of the world’s biggest producers of gas. The $29.5 billion NWS Project incorporates offshore oil and gas production facilities, onshore processing, storage and loading, LNG shipping fleet, and a supply base for offshore support.
Gas was discovered in the 1970s with the development of the Karratha Gas Plant starting in 1980. Domestic supply of gas started in 1984 and expanding further in 1985. Expansion of the facilities have continued over the years, including the Okha floating production and offloading facility in 2011.
Karratha Gas Plant
The Karratha Gas Plant produces up to 12,000 tonnes of domestic gas per day. Production capacity is up to 52,000 tonnes of LNG, up to 4,200 tonnes of LPG, and 165,000 tonnes of condensate.
Condensate is a low-density mixture of hydrocarbon liquids separated during the processing of natural gas.
The plant has five LNG processing trains, two domestic gas trains, six condensate stabilisation units, three LPG fractionation units, and storage and loading facilities for LNG, LPG, and condensate.
North Rankin Complex
The North Rankin Complex is two fixed offshore platforms that together produce up to 117,000 tonnes of gas and up to 10,400 tonnes of condensate per day.
The first platform was commissioned in 1984, 135km north-west of Karratha. It has served as the central hub of the North West Shelf Project from the beginning, comprising of drilling, production, utilities, and accommodation facilities.
The second platform was installed in 2012 with a connection across to the original platform. The two platforms work together as a single facility with the new platform designed to recover low-pressure gas reserves from the fields.
The Goodwyn platform is 23km south-west of the North Rankin Complex and 135km from Karratha. It produces up to 36,000 tonnes of gas and up to 11,000 tonnes of condensate.
Commissioned in 1995, it has drilling production, re-injection, utilities and accommodation facilities.
The Angel platform is a fixed offshore platform 120km from Karratha, about 50km east of the North Rankin Complex. It produces up to 22,000 tonnes of raw gas and up to 50,000 barrels of condensate.
Commissioned in 2008, the Angel platform is one of the newer ones to be added to the project. Its unique design enables it to be safely and securely powered. It s remotely controlled from the North Rankin Complex.
Okha is a floating production storage and offloading vessel (FPSO). Fixed to a turret, the platform is located 34km east of the Rankin Complex, 135km offshore from Karratha.
Crude oil is offloaded from the vessel to bulk tankers moored to its stern. A pipeline exports LPG-rich gas to the North Rankin Complex, before being transferred to the Karratha Gas Plant.
The disconnectable floating Angel Platform can produce up to 60,000 barrels of oil per day.
To get there:
From Dampier, head south on the Dampier Hwy and 1.7km after the Red Dog statue turn left into Burrup Rd. Follow Burrup Rd for 9.7km and turn right. The North West Shelf Visitor Centre is 200m on the left.
From Karratha, head west along Dampier Hwy towards Dampier. After passing the cemetery (Madigan Rd) continue for 16.2km and turn right into Burrup Rd with the brown sign for Withnell Bay. Follow Burrup Rd for 9.7km and turn right. The North West Shelf Visitor Centre is 200m on the left.