Tui field partners consider FPSO expansion

Rick Wilkinson
OGJ Correspondent

MELBOURNE, Dec. 15 -- Partners in the development of Tui oil field off New Zealand, led by Sydney-based Australian Worldwide Exploration (AWE), are considering an expansion of the fluid handling capacity of the Umuroa floating production, storage, and offloading vessel to 180,000 b/d. The group has also deferred indefinitely the drilling of a third horizontal well in the field in favor of further exploration within the larger mining licence PMP 38158.

The upgrade of the FPSO will enable more oil to be recovered at a faster rate from the currently producing reservoirs and also provide the flexibility to tie-in any future nearby discoveries.

As expected from the outset, the field is gradually increasing its water cut and this is now limiting the maximum oil recovery rate to about 32,000 b/d.

The field has an estimated proven and probable reserve of around 50 million bbl. At the end of November, total production had reached 19 million bbl.

The Tui group is now confident it can extract the remaining reserves without the extra development well. There are five attractive prospects near the three producing reservoirs which in total could contain another 50 million bbl of oil.

Semisubmersible Kan Tan IV will be used for the 2009 exploration program but no decision has been made about which prospects will be targeted.

The Tui partners are AWE 42.5%, Mitsui Exploration & Production NZ 35%, New Zealand Oil & Gas 12.5%, and Pan Pacific Petroleum 10%.

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