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Venice ticks off Outer Harbor Stage 1

Drilling will allow finalisation of the wharf design. Image: zhengzaishanchu/stock.adobe.com

Venice Energy has completed Stage 1 Enabling works at the Outer Harbor Project in Port Adelaide, where the project is now shovel-ready.

“Venice’s project team has done a remarkable job so far to gain a full suite of project approvals; lock in a range of key permits and plans; and to recently complete Stage 1 enabling works on site,” Venice Energy chief executive officer and director John Nicholson said.

The team completed the earthworks for the construction access roads and the lay-down area to bring bulk materials to site.

A major program of geotechnical drilling was also undertaken, to a depth of more than 40m. Drilling was undertaken adjacent to the proposed wharf construction area and will allow finalisation of the wharf design.

“This work has produced very positive results that will significantly reduce the project’s capital costs as we work to fully optimise both the delivery schedule and budget,” Nicholson said.

In October last year, Venice Energy signed an exclusivity agreement with Origin Energy to enable negotiations on Origin becoming the single user of the LNG import terminal. That agreement concludes at the end of this month.

There was an expectation that a final 10-year terminal user agreement (TUA) would be settled sometime in December 2023 or January 2024.

“Venice Energy believes that elements of our negotiations with Origin have been impacted following the announcement by the federal government on proposed changes to domestic gas supply, which has introduced additional uncertainty into the gas market,” Venice Energy chair and managing director Kym Winter-Dewhirst said.

“We are continuing to negotiate in good faith with Origin on potential solutions to ensure that enough new gas is delivered to avoid critical shortfalls as a result of rapidly declining domestic production.”

In recent months, Venice has been approached by a number of companies to discuss the purchase of the project.

Venice has appointed international M&A specialists CLSA to run a process for interested companies.

To date, 15 companies have expressed their interest in the project and eight have so far registered as part of the due diligence process following the opening of a data room.

“Although the requirements of non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) prevent us from naming these companies, I can say they come from a number of different sectors, including existing energy operators, industrial gas consumers, international LNG-specific companies and some private equity players,” Winter-Dewhirst said.

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