Bass Strait Oil
Bass Strait, Australia

Bass Strait Additional Oil Drilling Facilities

In the early 1970s oil and gas were discovered in Bass Strait. Fluor became a regular contractor for the offshore and onshore oil and gas production facilities. Fluor's earliest Bass Strait projects included the No. 2 and No. 3 Gas Plants at Longford near Sale, requiring process engineering, detailed design and procurement. The specialised know-how came from Fluor's Houston office, but once front-end engineering was completed, the process package was brought to Melbourne and the detailed engineering and procurement were conducted locally.

By the end of 2000, Fluor had executed over 400 projects on Bass Strait oil and gas facilities. They covered the full spectrum of project execution and management, from complex conceptual design and feasibility studies with cost estimates to detailed design, purchasing, fabrication, materials management, and construction—even training the clients' workforce.

Client's Challenge

When oil companies planned modifications to platforms in Bass Strait, they expected some construction rework. But the risk of fire from welding and the limited space on platforms meant that pipe spools were best fabricated onshore. Checking and fitting “as you go” is not an option on an offshore platform.

Fluor's Solution

In the mid-nineties, Fluor used photogrammetry to survey existing equipment by computer scanning digital photographs to create accurate 3D computer models of existing platform facilities. These models were imported into Plant Design System (PDS) software, allowing designers to work on screen to fit new components exactly with existing equipment.

The Flounder Additional Drilling Project was to provide facilities to enable a drilling rig to be placed onto a Bass Strait oil platform so a dozen new wells could be drilled. Fluor provided design engineering, procurement and construction for the new facilities, modifications and structural strengthening.

Fluor's second major Bass Strait project in the mid-nineties added topsides facilities to an existing Bass Strait platform creating a host platform to draw oil from the nearby Blackback reservoir. Three sub-sea wells were drilled and a sub-sea production system installed in 395 metres of water, the deepest production wells in Australian waters at the time. Fluor provided engineering, procurement, construction and commissioning services for the three sub-sea wells, a 200-millimetre insulated production pipeline, a gas lift line, an integrated sub-sea control system and host facilities and equipment on the platform. Fluor expanded its services to include pre-commissioning of the facilities and training the client's operating staff to run the new facility.


Fluor's Australia onshore and offshore experience in the Bass Strait spanned more than 30 years, bringing many innovations to the projects it delivered.