Pyrennees oil field now on stream off W. Australia

Rick Wilkinson
OGJ Correspondent

MELBOURNE, Mar. 1 -- The first phase of the BHP Billiton-operated Pyrenees oil field development project off Western Australia has been brought on stream several months ahead of schedule.

Start of oil production comes from the WA-42-L license area. The full project comprises 13 subsea wells feeding into an extensive subsea gathering system and a 96,000 b/d floating production, storage, and offloading vessel. Gas will be separated on the FPSO and reinjected into nearby Macedon gas field at a rate of 60 MMcfd for future recovery.

The development wells are being drilled and brought on stream in phases with about half the field now ramping up from the on-stream date and the other half coming into production during the next 6 months.

The $1.7 billion project was originally scheduled to come on stream towards the end of this year’s first half.

The project includes development of Crosby, Ravensworth, and Sickle oil fields, which were discovered in 2003 in 169-250 m of water.

Production is via extended-reach horizontal wells tied back to the double-hulled Pyrenees FPSO through an extensive gathering system. Water injection is being used to enhance the oil recovery. The fields are estimated to have a production life of 25 years.

The fields lie about 45 km off Exmouth on the Western Australian coast. They are 20 km east of BHP’s Stybarrow oil field.

The WA-42-L joint venture comprises BHP with 71.43% and Apache Corp. with 28.57%.

A section of the Ravensworth field crossed the permit boundary into production license WA-43-L where BHP is also operator but with a smaller (39.999%) interest. Apache has 31.501% while Inpex of Japan has 28.5%.

This separate segment of the Pyrenees project will have its own wells and gathering system. It will be produced through the Pyrenees FPSO under a commercial unitization agreement between the two groups and is expected to come on stream towards yearend.

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