3D Oil Limited has, together with its joint venture partner in VIC/P57, Carnarvon Hibiscus Pty Ltd (Hibiscus),finalised the development concept for the West Seahorse oilfield offshore Australia and that Front End Engineering Design (FEED) has commenced.
Following a comprehensive review of a variety of alternatives, the joint venture has selected an offshore solution for the exploitation of West Seahorse based on a cost effective approach and minimum time to first oil. The development will consist of production via a leased Mobile Offshore Production Unit (MOPU) in to a leased tanker serving as a Floating Storage and Offloading (FSO) Vessel which will enable crude oil sales both locally and internationally.
The field life is anticipated to be 4 to 5 years, dependent on a number of factors including operating costs and oil price. Initial production rates are expected to be as high as 12,000 barrels of oil per day. The Final Investment Decision (FID) is expected to occur immediately following Regulatory Approval which is expected in the fourth quarter of 2013 with oil production commencing in the first quarter of 2015. The Production Licence application is expected to be submitted to the National Offshore Petroleum Titles Authority (NOPTA) this month.
3D Oil’s Managing Director Noel Newell commented that “Choosing the optimum development concept is a significant step towards bringing the West Seahorse Field into production. It is a very exciting time for the company and ultimately transformative with first oil now on the horizon.”
The Offshore Concept, selected by the West Seahorse Project team located in Melbourne, was chosen over the previously announced Onshore Solution based on the following drivers:
■ Reduced time to first oil. In addition, the risk profile for regulatory approval of the offshore concept is minimised due to the significant reduction in number of stakeholders. First oil with the offshore solution can be kept on track for first quarter of 2015.
■ The FSO concept is a proven development concept in the Bass Strait and in other areas with similar harsh offshore environments (i.e. New Zealand).
■ The offshore solution opens the crude sales to both domestic and international markets, a factor now highlighted by uncertainty over the Shell Geelong refinery.
The FEED contract has been awarded to Melbourne-based engineering firm WorleyParsons and will be conducted in conjunction with the Regulatory Approval process leading to FID.
The selected Development Concept is described herein:
■ Two production wells will be drilled via a jack-up drilling rig prior to the arrival of the MOPU. The West Seahorse wells will be drilled, cased and suspended using the jack-up drilling rig and will be completed for production from the MOPU using a hydraulic snubbing unit. Two production wells will be connected directly to the MOPU through the use of surface completions.
■ The Mobile Offshore Production Unit (MOPU) is a modified jack-up fixed to the seabed at West Seahorse field location for the life of the project. The MOPU will include processing facilities to remove associated gas and water, to stabilise the crude oil, and export the stabilised crude. Produced gas will be processed and utilized for fuel gas and enhanced recovery (gas lift) with the remaining gas being flared. Produced water will be treated to regulatory requirement quality and disposed overboard.
■ The stabilised oil will be produced via a 1.5km 4-inch flexible flowline to a catenary anchor leg moored (CALM) buoy and flexible hose to a Floating Storage Offloading (FSO) vessel. The FSO can then either load to another vessel in tandem mooring or shuttle the crude to a refinery.