Van Gogh development delayed by FPSO fire damage

Rick Wilkinson
OGJ Correspondent

MELBOURNE, Apr. 17 -- A fire aboard the Ningaloo Vision floating production, storage, and offloading vessel, which is under construction at the Keppel Shipyard in Singapore, will delay the start-up of Apache Energy's $500 million (Aus.) Van Gogh heavy oil development off Western Australia.

The fire damaged instrument technical rooms housing the panels for process control, well control, uninterruptible power, and emergency shutdown systems.

No one was injured in the blaze, but many of the control systems will have to be replaced due to heat and water damage.

Vessel owner Prosafe Production is working with Keppel to determine the exact extent of the damage and a timetable for acquiring replacement equipment before it issues a new schedule for completing the vessel conversion from the original tanker MT Kudam.

Van Gogh field was scheduled to come on stream in May but will now be delayed at least several months. Development will include two subsea drilling centers and a total of 10 production wells, two water injectors, and one gas injection well.

The FPSO will be capable of processing 63,000 b/d of oil and of storing 620,000 bbl.

Apache has a 52.5% interest in the field, while Inpex Australia holds 47.5%.

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