Yoho offshore production fast-tracked with first Nigerian FPSO

By OGJ editors

HOUSTON, Sept. 6 -- ExxonMobil Corp. subsidiary Mobil Producing Nigeria Unlimited (MPN) has begun development of the $1.2 billion Yoho project off Nigeria, using an early production system (EPS) to produce first oil almost 2 years ahead of full field start-up, ExxonMobil said.

MPN will temporarily utilize the Falcon floating production, storage, and offloading vessel to begin production of about 90,000 b/d of oil late this year.

"The commencement of Yoho construction activities, including the first deployment of an EPS in West Africa, represents an important milestone for ExxonMobil in Nigeria," said Rex Tillerson, senior vice-president, ExxonMobil. "The ability to advance production. . .by over 2 years not only improves the project's economics but also meets the (Nigerian) government's objective of increasing production capacity."

Yoho field, a Nigerian National Petroleum Corp. (NNPC)- MPN joint venture acreage on shallow-water Oil Mining Lease (OML) 104, has estimated reserves of 400 million bbl of oil. Yoho facilities will develop discoveries in both Yoho and Awawa reservoirs in water 200-300 ft. deep.

MPN has awarded construction and fabrication contracts valued at more than $400 million for Yoho offshore facilities that will also include additional wellhead platforms, a central production platform, a living quarters platform, and a floating storage and offloading (FSO) vessel to replace the FPSO. Local contractors will be used for significant aspects of the development such as fabrication of jackets, bridges, and pipe coatings for the main offshore facilities, ExxonMobil said.

Full field start-up in 2004 targets peak oil production of 150,000 b/d. Produced gas will be reinjected to eliminate flaring and to maximize oil recovery, the company said. The original Yoho discovery, made in 1991 on OPL Block 94, produced 38° gravity oil (OGJ, Nov.18, 1991, p. 28).

The Nigerian government holds 60% interest in the Yoho JV, through NNPC, and operator MPN holds the remaining 40%.

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