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ExxonMobil Makes Progress With West Barracouta Project

Exxon Mobil Corporation XOM has made a final investment decision for the development of the West Barracouta gas field in Bass Strait.

The field will aid in transporting new gas supplies to the Australian domestic market. Located in the VIC/L1 block offshore Victoria, the project is a part of the Esso-BHP Gippsland Basin Joint Venture. The project is a part of the company's ongoing investment in the Gippsland Basin.

Recently, front-end engineering design work for the project was completed by ExxonMobil. The joint venture also handed out contracts to Subsea 7 and OneSubsea, a company of Schlumberger Limited (SLB).

The existing Barracouta infrastructure in offshore Bass Strait, to which the project will be tied back, marks the first offshore field ever discovered in Australia. The project is expected to produce first gas in 2021.

The east coast of Australia receives about 40% of its supply from the Gippsland Basin Joint Venture. The joint venture has invested more than $4 billion (AUD $5.5 billion) in recent projects including the Kipper Tuna Turrum offshore project and the Longford Gas Conditioning Plant in Victoria to supply Australian domestic gas demand. Also, it is expected to provide aid in the construction of the new project.

The Bass Strait well, drilled in 1965, has produced about four billion barrels of crude oil and eight trillion cubic feet of natural gas till date.

Esso Australia Pty Ltd, a subsidiary of ExxonMobil, operates the Gippsland Basin Joint Venture on behalf of a 50-50 joint venture with BHP Billiton Petroleum (Bass Strait) Pty Ltd. The company's presence in Australia dates back to 1895. Its business in Australia includes a widerange of petroleum related activities from oil and gas exploration as well as production to petroleum refining and supply of fuels and lubricants. The company has invested about $19 billion in Australia, including billions in natural gas projects.

Zacks Rank & Key Picks

Currently, ExxonMobil carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

A few better-ranked players in the same sector are Cabot Oil & Gas Corporation COG , Enterprise Products Partners L.P. EPD and SunCoke Energy, Inc SXC , each sporting a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). You can see the complete list of today's Zacks #1 Rank stocks here .

Houston, TX-based Cabot is an independent oil and gas exploration company with producing properties mainly in the continental U.S. The company delivered an average negative earnings surprise of 5.7% in the last four quarters.

Headquartered in Houston, TX, Enterprise Products Partners is among the leading midstream energy players in North America. It pulled off an average positive earnings surprise of 9.3% in the last four quarters.

SunCoke acquires, owns and operates the coke making and coal mining operations. The company delivered an average positive earnings surprise of 302.6% in the last four quarters.

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.


The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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