March 1, 1999
Block 16/08 in the Pearl River Mouth Basin of the South China Sea, location of the Huizhou 32-5 Field [5,255 bytes].
Robert J. Delmar

CACT poised to become China's largest offshore oil producer

Just 18-months after project start-up, CACT, a joint venture of China National Offshore Oil (CNOOC), Agip China, Chevron, and Texaco, has commenced production from the Huizhou 32-5 Field in Block 16/08 in the Pearl River Mouth Basin of the South China Sea. The field is located in 371 ft of water and is expected to have peak production of 27,000 b/d of oil. The field is being produced via three subsea wells tied-back to the existing Huizhou 26-1 platform where the crude is processed.

This marks the first project in the South China Sea using a subsea tieback for production. The wells are tied back to the platform about 2.2 miles northwest of the field through three 6-in. insulated production flowlines. A gas lift line is also being utilized to provide gas from the platform to the wells for artificial lift.

The addition of this field is expected to boost CACT's production to 32.5 million bbl this year from five fields, thus making the consortium the largest offshore oil producer in China. The consortium was originally formed between Agip, Chevron, and Texaco in 1983 as the ACT Operators Group. ACT made four discoveries, Huizhou 21-1, 26-1, 32-2, and 32-3 - all currently producing - between 1985 and 1995 in its two operated Blocks: 16/19 and 16/08. In 1996, CNOOC joined the group and changed the name to CACT. Chevron, Agip, and Texaco each hold a 16.33% stake in the field with China National Offshore holding the remaining 51%.

Unocal sees horizontal success as cost-effective

Unocal has drilled its first horizontal natural gas well in the Gulf of Thailand. The well A-07 on the Trat Field was drilled into a gas-bearing reservoir at 1,990 meters, penetrating about 450 meters of net gas-bearing reservoir averaging a thickness of 18 meters. A Unocal representative said that the well could have the productivity of as many as eight conventional wells and enable the company the cost-effectiveness to develop marginal gas reserves.

The well added an estimated 15-20 Bcf of gas to the gross recoverable reserves. Production is expected later this quarter at 30-50 MMcf/d of gas. Unocal operates the Trat Field with a 71.25% interest.

Woodside grants Kv?rner Laminaria contract

Woodside has awarded Kv?rner Oil & Gas Asia Pacific an Integrated Services Contract for the Northern Producer FPSO. Under the terms of the contract Kv?rner will perform maintenance, engineering services, and will integrate personnel with that of Woodside's for a totally new integrated and team-based approach when production begins to the vessel in the fourth quarter. This is the first contract for Woodside in which an outside company has been engaged to provide maintenance work on an offshore operating asset.

The FPSO will be located on Woodside's Laminaria and Corallina Field in the Timor Sea in 390 meters of water. The field holds recoverable reserves of 140 million bbl of oil. The Northern Producer is the world's largest newbuild FPSO measuring 273 meters in length, and 50 meters breadth. Production capacity for the vessel is 1.4 million bbl. A consortium of Kv?rner and SBM provided the engineering, procurement, and construction of the FPSO components, while the hull was constructed by Samsung.

Heerema awarded Malampaya installation

Brown & Root Energy Services has issued a letter of intent to Heerema Marine Contractors for the transportation and installation of the Malampaya Topside Facility 50 km west of Palawan in the deepwater offshore the Philippines. The contract will be completed by April 1, 2001 using the floatover method of installation, which involves floating the topsides over the installation sub-structure instead of using a lift barge. Brown & Root said this was chosen because it allows a complete integrated deck to be installed as one unit and allows the freedom of equipment layout within the deck, as well as completion of testing and pre-commissioning onshore.

The total topside facility will weigh 10,000 tons and will be transported on Heerema's H-114 barge. The unit will be placed on a 19-meter-high transportation frame, which will allow the unit to clear the pre-installed concrete gravity sub-structure with which it will be mated. A yard has yet to be chosen for the fabrication, and depending on which yard is chosen, may involve transportation of up to 1,600 nautical miles.

Brown & Root will next award the sub contract of the topsides and living quarters fabrication. Construction is of the concrete gravity sub-structure is set to begin this month. Shell Philippines Exploration is the operator of the Malampaya Field. Malampaya will be used to supply gas to Philippine power plants beginning October 1, 2001. Brown & Root was awarded the contract for the design, procurement, fabrication, installation, and commissioning of the platform in August of last year.

Indonesia, Thailand deregulating gas

The governments of Indonesia and Thailand are turning "trust-buster" and striving for change in their gas markets. The Indonesian government is planning to put an end to state gas company PT Perusahaan Gas Negara's (PGN) monopoly on gas pipeline network construction. The government is in the process of preparing a series of laws dismantling the monopolies in the gas pipeline network which will make the network openly manageable on a fee basis. The government is also reportedly targeting production sharing contractors companies with close ties to former president Suharto.

The government pushed for further change with the announcement of plans to differentiate the uses of the country's gas. According to the plan, wells located near industrial and economic activity for added support to the domestic market, while gas wells located far from these areas will be used for export. The government is currently preparing a plan for an integrated gas pipeline network to implement this effort.

The National Energy Policy Office of Thailand also said that reforms in its gas policies will soon be on the way. The government announced plans to deregulate its natural gas business, which is monopolized by state-owned Petroleum Authority of Thailand (PTT). This deregulation will allow for producers to sell their product directly to end-users, and for private investors to invest in the country's pipelines.

However, the deregulation will only apply to new contracts. PTT has an existing contract with Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (EGAT), the main user of the country's gas, to meet its supply needs through 2016. The government sees this deregulation as a way to help smooth the transition when PTT becomes privatized later this year.

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