Evans Shoal

Timor Sea Oil and Gas Fields

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  • The Evans Shoal gas field is located in the Timor Sea, 300km northwest of Darwin and about 200km south-southeast of the Greater Sunrise fields.
  • The field is located in permit NT/P48.


  • Current participants are:
Shell Development (Australia)
Pty Limited (Operator)
Natural Gas Australia Ltd*
(formerly Timor Sea Petroleum NL)
Osaka Gas Australia Pty Ltd 10.00%

*Subsidiary of Santos Ltd
  • The permit is wholly within Australian territorial waters and is administered by the Northern Territory Government on behalf of the Commonwealth.
  • Timor Sea Petroleum NL (TSP) (now escape3D Limited (ESP)) recently transferred its interests in permit NT/P48 to subsidiary company Natural Gas Australia Ltd (NGA), which owns and operates a subsidiary company, Methanol Australia Pty Ltd.


  • Permit NT/P40 was awarded to Mesa Australia Ltd, Tricentrol Exploration Overseas Ltd and P&O Energy in 1985. WMC subsequently purchased Mesa’s interest and became permit operator.
  • 1985 - 2,000km of seismic was recorded.
  • 1988 -  BHP Petroleum discovered the Evans Shoal gas field by drilling Evans Shoal-1 under a farm-in agreement with WMC. The title was subsequently surrendered as the discovery was considered to be of little commercial interest.
  • 1996 - Permit NT/P48 was granted to Timor Sea Petroleum NL.
  • June 1996 - Shell farmed-in to NT/P48.
  • August 2000 - Osaka Gas purchased a 10% share of the field, along with 10% of the Greater Sunrise fields.


  • Proved and probable recoverable dry gas resources are currently estimated to be around 6.6 trillion cubic feet (187 billion cubic metres) net of CO2; however, appraisal work is required to refine these estimates.
  • Under the terms of the farm-in agreement, in 1998, Shell funded a 40,000km 2-D seismic survey across NT/P48 and neighbouring NT/P47 (Wonarah) and two exploration and appraisal wells, at a cost of A$50 million. Evaluation of initial results from Evans Shoal-2 exploration well indicated that a mean gas-in-place volume of 17 Tcf (trillion cubic feet) is possible, including some condensate. The amount of recoverable hydrocarbon gases is the subject of on-going studies.
  • The Evans Shoal field formed part of the study undertaken by Shell and Woodside to investigate the feasibility of a two-train 7.5 Mtpa liquefied natural gas (LNG) and domestic gas project to be based in Darwin.
  • It was originally planned to jointly develop Evans Shoal with the Greater Sunrise fields, in partnership with Shell and Woodside (NAGV), for export of LNG and a domestic gas project. Under this proposal, Evans Shoal would be connected via an offshore pipeline to the Sunrise project and brought on stream as depletion of the Greater Sunrise fields occurred.
  • However, joint venture partners now propose that the Greater Sunrise and Evans Shoal fields be developed separately, with further appraisal work required for the Evans Shoal field prior to a final decision on development options.
  • Independent of the joint Shell/Woodside and Timor Sea Petroleum NL (TSP) study, a scoping study was undertaken for TSP by Kvaerner, Ove Arup and Thompson Clarke Shipping, with respect to the concept, design and costing for construction of a high volume methanol and synfuels gas reforming facility on a concrete gravity structure located in shallow water, using gas from the adjacent Evans Shoal gas field.
  • The first phase of the conceptual facility would have a production capability of 5,000 tonnes of methanol per day (1.725 Mtpa). The plant design would also incorporate a second phase of development, where production facilities could be expanded to 10,000 tonnes per day (3.45 Mtpa).

Current at March 4, 2002

Director of Petroleum Development

Office of Territory Development
GPO Box 4396
Ph: 61 8 8999 5425
Fax: 61 8 8999 5191