Anzon, a new oil company on the scene, has had record-fast approval for the development of an oil field near Marlo. The Basker, Manter and Gummy fields were discovered between 1983-90 but are only being tapped into now. With the price of oil around $70 at last count, new wells should be extremely lucrative.
Instead of a rig being built over the well, the company is using a computer guided ship that will stay within 10 metres above the well site, connected by a flexible pipe. It will then pump oil directly to a shunter ship which will take it to a major refinery in Melbourne. This system makes for very expensive operating costs but is cheaper than building a rig and a processing facility on shore. The life of the field is expected to be about five years.
Regular readers will be aware of the ongoing controversy surrounding the gas plant located on the Snowy River estuary and flood plain near the mouth of the Snowy at Marlo. The gas in the new oil field will eventually need to be processed. This will add to the pressure for the government to solve the problem they created by approving the poor siting of this plant. It is a small, environmentally sensitive site with no room for expansion.