Apache secures FPSO for Van Gough oil field

Rick Wilkinson
OGJ Correspondent

MELBOURNE, May 8, -- Apache Corp., parent of Perth-based Apache Australia, has awarded a contract to Norwegian company Prosafe for use of the tanker MT Kudam. The vessel will be converted into an FPSO for a $606 million (Aus.) development of Van Gough oil field in the Exmouth subbasin off Western Australia.

The vessel will have a processing capacity of 63,000 b/d and storage for 620,000 bbl of oil.

Van Gough is expected to begin producing about 40,000 b/d of 20° gravity oil in 2009. The converted vessel will be linked to two subsea drilling centers having 10 production wells, two water injection wells, and one gas injection well.

Apache has a 52.5% interest in the field and is operator. Inpex of Japan has the remaining 47.5%.

The two companies will pay a total of $40 million plus operating expenses for a 7-year lease with the option of either acquiring the vessel or extending the lease contract for a further 8 years.

The oil will be marketed in Asia.

A similar heavy oil development in the nearby Pyrenees fields operated by BHP Billiton (in which Apache and Inpex also have interests) is expected to receive formal approval later this year.

This development comprises Pyrenees, Ravensworth, Crosby, Stickle, Harrison, and Moondyne fields with a total estimated reserve of 120 million bbl.

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