Perth basin gets first offshore oil flow

Rick Wilkinson
OGJ Correspondent

MELBOURNE, May 2 -- The offshore Perth basin of Western Australia is producing oil for the first time ever following start-up of Cliff Head field by a group operated by Roc Oil Co. Ltd., Sydney.

The $285 million (Aus.) development started with 1,000 b/d from the vertical CH-6 well. Production will increase to the planned 10,000 b/d over the next few weeks as five other producers, including four horizontal wells, are brought on line.

The field, in production licence WA-31-L, is producing through an unmanned steel platform in 18 m of water about 10 km from shore. Oil moves through a 14 km pipeline to the recently completed onshore Arrowsmith stabilization plant and then via truck 350 km south to a crude unloading facility built at BP Australia's Kwinana refinery near Perth.

Water separated from the oil at Arrowsmith is returned to the field via a second 14 km pipeline and reinjected via two wells.

Roc discovered Cliff Head in December 2001 with its first well in Australia. The stacked Permian-age sand reservoirs have reserves estimated at 14 million bbl.

The Perth basin is the fourth offshore oil-producing province in Australia after Bass Strait, the North West Shelf, and the Timor Sea.

Interest holders in Cliff Head are Roc Oil (37.5%), AWE Oil Pty. Ltd. (27.5%), Wandoo Petroleum Pty. Ltd. (24%), ARC Energy Ltd. (6%), and CIECO Exploration & Production Australia Pty. Ltd. (5%).

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