World of oil & gas
Total begins production at Egina field, offshore Nigeria
Total—alongside partners CNOOC Limited (45%), Petrobras (16%) and Nigerian National Petroleum Corp. (15%)—has begun producing from Egina field, about 93 mi off the coast of Nigeria. The field, first discovered in 2003, is the second development to begin production on Oil Mining Lease (OML) 130. Situated in nearly 5,250 ft of water, Egina reportedly will produce 200,000 bopd at plateau. This represents approximately 10% of the country’s total output. The field is being developed with an FPSO unit which, Total says, is the largest it has ever built. The FPSO is designed to hold 2.3 MMbbl of oil, weighs close to 220,000 metric tons, and measures approximately 330 m long by 60 m wide. It connects to 44 subsea wells that are 1,600 m deep. “Total is proud to deliver the project of this size under the initial budget and to contribute to the development of Nigeria’s oil and gas sector by generating employment, as well as building industrial capability. Egina will significantly boost the group’s production and cash flow from 2019 onwards, and benefit from our strong cost reduction efforts in Nigeria, where we have reduced our operating costs by 40% over the last four years,” said Arnaud Breuillac, Total’s president of E&P. “Furthermore, some upside potential nearby remains to be developed and we are studying, in particular, a Preowei discovery tie-back to the Egina FPSO.” Total reportedly has been operating in Nigeria for more than 60 years. The company has interest in 34 OMLs, five of which it operates and two of which are oil prospecting leases (OPLs).
Giant Aasta Hansteen gas field goes onstream
Equinor has begun producing from Aasta Hansteen gas field, in the Norwegian Sea. Situated approximately 186 mi west of Sandnessjøen, Aasta Hansteen is the largest spar platform in the world and the first on the Norwegian Continental Shelf (NCS). In 4,265 ft of water, it also is the deepest field development on the NCS. Bringing the field on stream was particularly challenging, because it is farther from other fields on the NCS, where weather conditions are extremely harsh. The field’s recoverable resources are estimated at approximately 55.6 Bscmg and 353 MMboe. Arne Sigve, Equinor’s executive V.P. of development and production in Norway, said, “The production from the Aasta Hansteen field will help secure long-term Norwegian gas export. With the infrastructure installed, it will also be more attractive to explore around the platform and along the pipeline. This enables us to secure activity for many decades, in line with our ambitions for the NCS.”
ExxonMobil continues exploration offshore Guyana
Exxon has begun drilling its newest exploration well offshore Guyana, in the southeastern part of the Stabroek Block. The Haimara-1 well is the first of two planned wells in January. It will be drilled by the Stena Carron drillship, approximately 19 mi east of the Pluma-1 discovery. The second well, Tilapia-1, reportedly will be drilled by the Noble Tom Madden drillship, approximately 3 mi west of the Longtail-1 discovery, in the Turbot area. “We continue to prioritize high-potential prospects in close proximity to previous discoveries in order to establish opportunities for material and efficient development,” Steve Greenlee, president of ExxonMobil Exploration Company, said in a release. “Like the Liza and Payara areas, the Turbot area is on its way to offering significant development options that will maximize value for Guyana and our partners.”
Afoxé-1 well leads to new oil discovery offshore Angola
Eni reported that oil was struck in the Afoxé prospect, in the southeastern area of Angola’s Block 15/06. The well, which was drilled approximately 75 mi off the coast, was drilled to a TD of 5,653 ft, in about 2,559 ft of water. It proved a 66-ft net oil pay of high-quality oil in the Upper Miocene sandstones. According to the company, the well has not been tested. However, extensive data collection has been carried out, which indicated a production capacity in excess of 5,000 bopd. The new discovery is situated just 31 mi southwest of the Olombendo FPSO (pictured) and about 12 mi west of the recent Kalimba-1 discovery. It serves as further confirmation that the southern part of the block still has considerable oil exploration potential, as it was previously considered a primarily gas prone area.
Eni reports Merakes East gas discovery, offshore Indonesia
Eni’s Merakes East prospect has been drilled and tested, reportedly encountering over 49 ft of gas bearing net sands. The well was drilled on the East Sepinggan Block, offshore Indonesia. It was drilled to a depth of 3,400 m MD, in 5,223 ft of water. The discovery is approximately 20 mi southeast of the Eni-operated Jangkrik field, and less than 2 mi east of Merakes field. According to the company, the discovery’s proximity to Merakes field will likely reduce costs and time of the execution of the future subsea development. Eni said that a production test reported an excellent gas deliverability of the reservoir. The test allowed the collection of necessary data to perform all studies required to submit a field development plan for the commercial exploitation of the new find. Eni is operator of the East Sepinggan Contract Area, with an 85% participating interest. PT Pertamina Hulu Energi East Sepinggan holds the remaining 15%.
BP announces FID for Phase 1 of the Greater Tortue Ahmeyim development
BP—alongside partners Kosmos Energy and national oil companies Petrosen and SMHPM—has taken FID for Phase 1 of the cross-border Greater Tortue Ahmeyim development, after working with the Mauritanian and Senegalese governments. “[Achieving sanction] represents the beginning of a multi-phase project that is expected to deliver LNG revenues and gas to Africa and beyond for decades to come. We see this as the start of a new chapter for Africa’s energy story and are honored to work alongside our partners and the governments of Mauritania and Senegal,” BP’s Upstream Chief Executive Bernard Looney said in a release. The project will produce gas from an ultra-deepwater subsea system and mid-water FPSO vessel. The gas reportedly will be transported to a nearshore hub on the Mauritania and Senegal maritime border. The field, which is the first major gas project to reach FID in the basin, holds an estimated 15 Tcf. It is expected to reach first gas in 2022.
Exxon makes FID to develop West Barracouta gas project, offshore Australia
ExxonMobil has announced an FID to develop West Barracouta gas field, in VIC/L1 Block, offshore Victoria in the Bass Strait. According to the company, the project is expected to bring new gas supplies to the Australian domestic market and represents its commitment to the Gippsland basin. The Gippsland basin JV—which consists of ExxonMobil subsidiary Esso Australia Pty Ltd (operator, 50%) and BHP Billiton Petroleum (50%)—reportedly supplies about 40% of east coast Australian domestic gas demand. “The Gippsland basin Joint Venture has 50 years of experience in Bass Strait,” said Richard Owen, chairman of ExxonMobil Australia. “Since the first Bass Strait well was drilled in 1965, about 4 Bbbl of crude oil and 8 Tcf of natural gas have been produced.” The West Barracouta project will be tied back to the existing Barracouta infrastructure. First gas is expected by 2021.
Total starts Train 3 of the Yamal LNG project
Total has announced the start-up of Train 3 of the Yamal LNG project, in Russia’s far north. Consequently, the Yamal plant has now reached its full planned capacity of 16.5 MMtpa. According to the company, this was achieved less than a year after the first shipment of LNG from the project in December 2017. The project’s resource base comes from South Tambey field, northeast of the Yamal Peninsula. It’s overall proven and probable reserves are estimated at approximately 926 Bcm. Total’s Chairman and CEO Patrick Pouyanné said, “The positive experience of Yamal LNG paves the way for further LNG developments alongside our strategic partner Novatek, including Arctic LNG 2, the next major development based on giant low-cost resources in Russia’s far north.” In early December, the project offloaded its hundredth cargo. It was loaded onto the Arc7 ice-class LNG carrier Fedor Litke, making its cumulative to-date delivery 7.4 million tons. Yamal LNG shareholders include Novatek (50.1%), Total (20%), CNPC (20%) and the Silk Road Fund (9.9%).
Equinor makes significant Johan Sverdrup progress
Equinor announced that the topside for the Johan Sverdrup processing platform is complete and is now sailing to Norway onboard the world’s largest heavy-transport vessel, the Boskalis Vanguard. The fully assembled and tested platform reportedly left the yard of Samsung Heavy Industries on time, under budget and with no serious incidents. “Having built this as a complete topside gave us a unique opportunity to test a lot of systems that we normally wouldn’t have been able to test prior to installation offshore. This has given us a better picture of the quality of work undertaken and helps safeguard the plan towards start-up of the field next year,” said Jill Sale, project manager for the processing platform. Once the platform arrives in Stord, it will begin preparations before it is hoisted into position by the Pioneering Spirit vessel in the spring.
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