2024 is shaping up to be another dynamic year for oil and gas in Australia. The sector will continue to be a key driver of our country’s economy, with a multitude of significant projects slated to progress, from feasibility stages right through to production.
In looking ahead, here is an overview of some of the biggest oil and gas projects of 2024, ones that are not only crucial for meeting global energy demands but will provide an abundance of exciting opportunities in the Australian oil and gas workforce.
Oil and Gas Insights Overview
According to the government’s latest Resources and Energy Major Projects (REMP) list, oil and gas projects make up the largest share of those at the committed stage, numbering 15. These have a total estimated value of $46 billion.
Interestingly, the value of all projects at the committed stage increased by more than 50% over the course of the year, from $54 to $83 billion. Australia’s three largest export commodities — iron ore, coal, and gas — make up the lion’s share at 80%.
One step down the rung, there are eighteen major oil and gas projects at the feasibility stage with a combined estimated $55–58 billion value. The publicly announced stage sees eleven major oil and gas projects with a combined estimated value of $18-20 billion, with six spreads across Victoria and Tasmania, four in Western Australia and the Northern Territory, and one in Queensland.
These oil and gas projects underscore the significant investments being made across these industries. It reflects the strong ongoing interest in these markets both for domestic use and export purposes.
Amidst these burgeoning investments, these sectors are poised to offer a multitude of new job opportunities, ranging from technical and engineering roles to project management and support functions.
Let’s now take a closer look at a selection of the biggest projects in oil and gas in Australia for the year ahead.
Gorgon LNG Project: Stage Two
- Value: $5.1 billion second stage (total project value $54 billion)
- Location: Barrow Island, off the northwest coast of Western Australia
In June 2023, the second stage of the mammoth Gorgon project was completed, producing the first gas for domestic and export use. It was a significant undertaking to reach that milestone, one that involved extending the current field infrastructure by installing two subsea pipelines with a combined length of 240km along the ocean floor. This is in addition to eleven wells drilled in the Gorgon and Jansz-lo gas fields to ensure long-term liquefied natural gas (LNG) supply.
While the next stage of the Gorgon Project has not been publicly announced, it is sure to present a further abundance of job opportunities for those in the sector. The second stage saw seven hundred people employed, with potentially 1,400 over the course of the entire project.
Browse LNG Project
- Value: $30 billion (estimated)
- Location: Dampier Peninsula, Western Australia
Another mega scale project backed by a conglomerate of powerhouses in the sector (BP, China National Petroleum, Mitsubishi, Mitsui, Shell, and Woodside Energy Group), the Browse LNG facility will distribute gas from three fields in the Browse Basin – Torosa, Brecknock and Calliance. It’s currently at the feasibility stage with hopes for commercial production in 2028.
When it comes to jobs, it is expected to create more than 3,200 during the construction phase and a further 1,300 jobs when operational.
The Scarborough Energy Project
- Value: $16 billion
- Location: Carnarvon Basin, off the coast of Western Australia
Woodside Energy is behind the development of the Scarborough natural gas field. It includes the installation of a semi-submersible floating production unit connected by a 430km pipeline to a second LNG train (Pluto Train 2) at the existing Pluto LNG onshore facility.
In the initial stages, eight wells will be drilled, but that will total thirteen wells over the life of the Scarborough field. The project has a target date of 2026 for its first LNG production.
During the construction phase, there will be an estimated 3,000 jobs created, with an additional six hundred jobs on average for operations.
Arrow Surat Gas Project
- Value: $10 billion
- Location: Surat Gas Basin, between Dalby and Wandoan in Queensland.
Arrow Energy, owned by Shell Australia and PetroChina, has plans for the expansion of the Surat Gas Basin, drilling six hundred wells and constructing a 440km pipeline. It will also include the development of multiple production facilities, including gas compressors, water storage and treatment plants, and power generation plants.
In January 2023, the project hit a significant milestone in completing the gas processing facility near Dalby ahead of schedule. Future development phases will focus on the new field compression stations, with production estimated to start in 2026.
Over the project’s lifespan, there will be around 1,000 new jobs created, comprising eight hundred construction roles and two hundred ongoing operational roles.
- Value: $5.6 billion
- Location: Bonaparte Basin, 300km north of Darwin
The Santos-owned Barossa project involves the development of a floating production storage and offloading facility, a subsea production system, supporting infield subsea infrastructure and a gas export pipeline. It’s set to supply natural gas to the Darwin LNG from 2025, with the entire project 66% completed.
Work on laying the gas export pipeline was slated to begin this year, but Santos ran into troubles with traditional landowners citing an environmental risk to submerged cultural heritage. The case is currently before the courts and drilling has been suspended until an outcome is reached.
Santos believes the project will create six hundred construction jobs, plus fifty ongoing jobs in Darwin.
These five major projects in oil and gas in Australia highlight what is a robust industry landscape for several years to come.
If you would like further oil and gas industry insights, need assistance in finding a new oil and gas job, or sourcing professionals for open positions, please get in contact with one of our Patch Personnel recruitment specialists. We’d love to help ensure your new year begins with a bang, whether in a new role or with a new hire.