Conoco moveable gas production unit going to West Natuna Sea


By the OGJ Online Staff


HOUSTON, Mar. 27�Conoco Inc. said Tuesday its moveable offshore gas production unit is en route to Indonesia's Block B fields in West Natuna Sea, where it is expected to arrive in early April.

Hyundai Heavy Industries in Ulsan, South Korea, built the unit, named Hang Tuah, after a legendary 14th century Indonesian admiral.

The Hang Tuah was built onshore, where labor and other costs are cheaper than assembling it in the water. The same vessels used for towing the production unit to location will position and install it.

Once the steel gravity platform reaches its destination, it will be floated off its transportation vessel.

Conoco can relocate the Hang Tuah at a relatively low cost when reserves are depleted and new fields are brought on stream within the block.

In 1999, Conoco signed an agreement outlining logistics for the first export sale of pipeline gas from Indonesia to Singapore. The agreement calls for development of a project capable of delivering 325 MMcfd.

Deliveries of gas from Block B fields are scheduled for July. Gas will be piped to Singapore via the 400-mile-long West Natuna Transportation System (WNTS), one of the world's longest subsea pipelines.

The WNTS is a joint venture between Conoco Indonesia Inc. Ltd., Premier Oil PLC, London, and Gulf Indonesia Resources, Jakarta, in support of Pertamina, Indonesia's state-owned oil company.

Rob McKee, Conoco vice-president of worldwide exploration and production, said Indonesia has known gas reserves of more than 100 tcf, but the gas has not been developed for lack of a domestic market and lack of a gas export pipeline.

In 1999, the Conoco Indonesia Inc. Ltd.-operated Natuna Sea Block B production sharing contract group signed a 22-year contract with Pertamina to sell gas to Singapore. Then, in October 2000, Conoco-operated Block B was named the sole supplier of gas in a 20-year Indonesia-to-Malaysia sale.

Conoco Indonesia holds 40% interest in Block B. Its partners are Inpex Masela Ltd., 35%, and Texaco Inc., 25%.

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