Oil reserves in the West Seahorse field in Bass Strait offshore Victoria have been confirmed by an independent appraisal. The assessment has provided greater certainty for the development project financing and the letting of major contracts (OGJ Online, Nov. 14, 2013).
Carnarvon Hibiscus holds 51.1% in the field and is operator; 3D Oil Ltd. holds 49.9% interest.
Gaffney, Cline & Associates estimated that, as of Dec. 31, 2013, the field’s proved and probable reserves are 6.5 million bbl. Oil in place has been put at 10.3 million bbl plus an estimated 1.5 million bbl potential in secondary reservoirs.
Four wells have been drilled in West Seahorse, including the 1981 discovery well by a group led by Beach Energy. Three wells have encountered the oil reservoir, while the fourth intersected the reservoir below the oil-water contact.
Front-end engineering and design for the development began in April 2013. The development concept centres on production via a leased mobile offshore production unit (a jack up) feeding oil at 12,000 b/d through a 1.5-km, 4-in. flexible flow line to a catenary anchor leg moored buoy. This in turn will be connected to a leased tanker serving as a floating storage and offtake facility.
Commercial life of the field is expected to be 5-6 years, but the group is also looking at the nearby exploration prospect named Sea Lion. If it too contains oil, it could be quickly tied into the planned facilities to extend production and increase the value of the project.
A final investment decision for West Seahorse is expected in the next few months. The schedule calls for the field to be brought on stream in early 2015.
West Seahorse lies in 39 m of water 14 km off the Ninety Mile Beach near Loch Sport. It lies 2 km west of ExxonMobil Corp.-BHP Billiton’s Seahorse field in the adjoining permit.