Bualuang field output resumes offshore Thailand

Salamander Energy PLC, London, has resumed production at Bualuang oil field in the Gulf of Thailand after repairs to a production riser damaged during bad weather in January.

Output from the field averaged about 12,500 b/d last year but had been as high as 15,000 b/d.

The damage occurred when the Rubicon Vantage floating production, storage, and offloading vessel drifted into an exclusion zone designed to protect production equipment. The FPSO’s mooring chains damaged the riser, causing a discharge of about 20 bbl of oil. The leaked oil was dispersed within 5 hr.

Hallin Marine provided saturation diving services for inspection and stabilization of the equipment before conducting repairs, which included unraveling of flexible risers, control umbilical, and mooring wire, and removing and replacing the riser assembly and other subsea structures.

The accident occurred on Jan. 8. Production resumed Feb. 13.

Bualuang, which lies in about 60 m of water, started production in 2008. Output averaged 7,000-8,000 b/d during the field’s early years and increased after installation of second wellhead platform in 2012.

Development drilling by the Atwood Mako jack up at the new “Bravo” platform was not disrupted by the riser damage.

Salamander expects Bualuang production to average 13,000-16,000 b/d this year.

The company, which operates the field with a 100% interest, plans to replace the FPSO with a Teekay floating storage and offloading unit, for which day rates will be lower, in the third quarter. In another cost-cutting move, it has installed crude-fired power generation along with new processing equipment on the Bravo platform.

After a series of reserves upgrades, Salamander now expects to recover about 60 million bbl of oil from Bualuang field. The company expects to install at least one more wellhead platform in the field.

Salamander holds a 5,800-sq-km exploration concession around Bualuang field designated G4/50, where drilling began in the second half of last year.

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