MELBOURNE, Dec. 17 -- A joint venture of Beach Petroleum Ltd. and Anzon Australia Ltd. has entered a contract to use the floating production, storage, and offloading vessel Crystal Ocean for development of its Basker, Manta, and Gummy oil and gas fields in the Gippsland basin off Victoria.
This marks the first time that an FPSO has been earmarked for work in Bass Strait since production began in that province in the 1960s.
The combine will have use of the vessel until mid-January 2008, but deployment is subject to the successful drilling of the Basker-2 appraisal well during first half 2005.
Initial plans call for the vessel to conduct an extended production test of Basker-2. If this well performs as expected, more wells will be drilled and tied into the vessel during 2005-06 to increase production to a peak of about 20,000 b/d of oil.
Crystal Ocean, built in Glasgow, Scotland, in 1999, is purpose-built for development of small fields and has previously operated on Chestnut field in the North Sea. The FPSO is capable of processing as much as 40,000 b/d of oil and 50 MMcfd of gas. The vessel is currently in Norway, slated to arrive in Australia in mid-2005.
Adelaide-based Beach and Sydney-based Anzon formed a joint venture a few months ago following Anzon's purchase of the three eastern Bass Strait fields from Woodside Petroleum Ltd. of Perth at the beginning of 2004.
Basker, Manta, and Gummy fields were discovered by Shell Australia Ltd., Melbourne, in 1983, 1984, and 1990, respectively, but deemed noncommercial at the time.
The fields are held in retention leases Vic RLs 6, 9, and 10, which lie just east of the ExxonMobil Corp.-BHP Billiton producing fields.
Basker is mostly oil, Manta both oil and gas, and Gummy predominantly gas. The three fields have proved and probable reserves of 23.3 million bbl of oil plus an identified contingent gas-condensate resource of about 19.2 million boe.
Oil production will be sent directly to one of the two refineries near Melbourne. Gas initially will be reinjected into the reservoir until arrangements can be made for its production either through existing Bass Strait infrastructure or new facilities at a later date.
Anzon has a 75% interest in the three fields and Beach 25%. Beach also owns a direct 9% shareholding in Anzon.