Hess Exploration Australia has signed a non-binding letter of intent (LoI) with the North West Shelf (NWS) to liquefy Equus Gas.

NWS is a joint venture (JV) between BHP Billiton Petroleum (North West Shelf), BP Developments Australia, Chevron Australia, Japan Australia LNG (MIMI), Shell Australia and Woodside Energy.

"This arrangement would bring together Hess’ strong deepwater drilling and development capabilities with NWS’ proven track record in natural gas processing and liquefaction."

The LoI is for the processing of resources from Hess’ permits in the Carnarvon Basin.

It specifies the proposed terms, including tariff fees, to toll resources from WA-390-P, WA-474-P and potentially other permits, through the NWS project’s Karratha gas plant.

Hess will deliver gas to the NWS project’s offshore infrastructure for processing at the Karratha plant and will market, as well as deliver, its own volumes.

Hess and NWS plan to undertake joint engineering studies and further progress commercial negotiations.

Hess president and COO Greg Hill said: "This arrangement would bring together Hess’ strong deepwater drilling and development capabilities with NWS’ proven track record in natural gas processing and liquefaction.

"The combination provides an attractive option for Hess to commercialise its important Equus natural gas resource in a manner that delivers secure, reliable energy supplies into Asia Pacific [liquefied natural gas] LNG markets and creates value for our shareholders."

Hess holds 100% interests in both the WA-390-P and WA-474-P permits, which feature the Equus fields.

The permits cover more than one million acres and are located approximately 115 miles off the north-west coast of Australia, in water depths of around 3,600ft.