Cooper Energy says it and Japan’s Mitsui Group will invest $37 million to upgrade the Minerva Gas Plant near Port Campbell, Victoria to process gas from four existing offshore gas wells.

Cooper and Mitsui Group, who each hold half-stakes in the project, have already spent $17.8 million on buying the plant from BHP last year and on front end engineering and design work.

The new infrastructure works at the plant will enable the supply of 16 petajoules of gas from the four offshore wells via a pipeline tie-in.

“This is a shovel-ready project which will see Cooper Energy and Mitsui Group upgrade the idle Minerva Gas Plant to be a processing hub for local production and discoveries in offshore Otway Basin, Victoria,” Cooper Energy managing director David Maxwell said.

The project is expected to create about 30 to 50 local jobs during execution and 20 ongoing local jobs.

The first gas is expected to be produced from the plant within the September quarter of 2021.

The Minerva Gas Plant was commissioned in 2005 to process gas from the now depleted Minerva gas field, and Cooper plans to rename it the Athena Gas Plant.

At 1331 AEST, Cooper Energy shares were down 1.2 per cent to 41.5 cents.