HELIX Energy Solutions’ deepwater offshore vessel Q7000 is this week wrapping up the main decommissioning work at Cooper Energy’s Basker Manta Gummy oil field in Bass Strait.

Cooper Energy said work on the final upper abandonment plug at Basker-6, the last well of the BMG decommissioning program, should be completed early this week, leading to the off-hire of Q7000 and its departure from the BMG field off Gippsland.

The company said a future stage of work will be required to remove seafloor production equipment. This work can be conducted with a workboat and is a significantly smaller scope than the wells decommissioning program.

The expected final cost remains toward the upper end of the mid-case estimate range of $240 – 280 million.

The BMG work began in mid-December 2023 after the specialised vessel, which can execute well intervention and decommissioning operations in water depths ranging from 85m to 3,000m, after completing decom work on the Tui Field offshore New Plymouth in NZ. The semi-submersible Q7000 is now due to go to work for Esso Australia on further decom work in the Gippsland Basin.

Separately, Cooper Energy is continuing to pursue its claim in the Supreme Court of Victoria against Indonesian state-owned enterprise Pertamina for its 10% share of the BMG decommissioning costs. This claim includes interest on the costs to date, as well as future costs associated with the remaining scope of work. An interlocutory hearing has been scheduled in late July 2024, regarding service of the writ and statement of claim.

Pertamina, via an Australian subsidiary, participated in the BMG oil project during its production life and Cooper Energy’s claim arises with respect to Pertamina’s obligations under the withdrawal and abandonment provisions of the BMG oil project joint operating and production agreement.