Conoco-led group begins production from new CMS III North Sea gas field

A consortium of ConocoPhillips unit Conoco Ltd., GDF Britain Ltd., and London-based exploration and production independent Tullow Oil UK Ltd. began natural gas production Dec. 3 from Murdoch K field.

By OGJ editors

HOUSTON, Dec. 9 -- A consortium of ConocoPhillips unit Conoco (UK) Ltd., GDF Britain Ltd., and London-based exploration and production independent Tullow Oil UK Ltd. began natural gas production Dec. 3 from Murdoch K field in the southern sector of the UK North Sea 115 miles northeast of Lincolnshire.

The second Carboniferous field to be produced as part of the $200 million CMS III subsea-based development, Murdoch K attained a production rate of 204 MMscfd on test—a volume greater than that expected from the well design—a Tullow spokesperson said.

Conoco holds a 59.5% interest in the field and operates it; GDF Britain holds 26.4%; and Tullow 14.1%.

Murdoch K well 44/22a-10Y is a sidetrack of the March 2001 discovery well. The field is one of five natural gas reservoirs currently being developed by the consortium as a single, unitized project containing 430 bcf of natural gas.

Murdoch K and the other fields, Hawksley, McAdam, Boulton H, and Watt are being developed using the Caister Murdoch System's production and transportation facilities, known collectively as CMS III. The five fields lie on Blocks 44/22a and 44/23a in the UK North Sea. They are estimated to hold 500 billion cu m of gas (OGJ Online, June 24, 2002).

Hawksley field was brought on stream Sept. 7 with a sustained production rate of 170 MMscfd. The current combined CMS III production rate is 300 MMscfd from two wells.

"We are. . .pleased with the exceptionally high productivity achieved from the first two producing wells on CMS III, said Tullow Chief Executive Aidan Heavey. "The initial indications are that the reserves in these two fields will be at the upper end of our expectations," he said.

The satellite development contains subsea production centers for each reservoir, interconnecting pipelines, and service umbilicals and control systems linked back to the CMS facilities located at Murdoch field. The subsea infrastructure is now in place, and as each new production well is completed, tie-in and production can be achieved within weeks.

Consort Caister Ltd. is a participant in CMS along with operator ConocoPhillips, GDF Britain, and Tullow. The complex required extensive new and upgraded facilities, including a new bridge-linked accommodation platform installed in May and tie-ins for the CMS III subsea development.

In mid-2003, the group will install a new compression module that will double CMS compression capacity for existing and new production and will provide for future natural gas developments in the area. Produced natural gas is transported from CMS by subsea pipeline 115 miles to the Theddlethorpe gas terminal on the Lincolnshire coast.

The third development well is being drilled in McAdam field, and production from the well is expected in first quarter 2003.

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