Roc Oil revises plan for Bass Strait development project

Roc Oil—operator of the Basker-Manta-Gummy (BMG) oil and gas project in the Bass Strait—has revised its development plan and schedule to introduce several cost-saving measures.

Rick Wilkinson
OGJ Correspondent

MELBOURNE, Mar. 17 -- Sydney-based Roc Oil Co. Ltd.—operator of the Basker-Manta-Gummy (BMG) oil and natural gas project in the Bass Strait—has revised its development plan and schedule to introduce several cost-saving measures.

During 2009 and 2010, the joint venture will focus on enhancing the production performance of the Phase 1 oil stage, at the same time reducing its development commitments for the Phase 2 gas development.

Roc has swapped its contracted use of the Songa Venus semisubmersible drilling rig with Shell Development Australia for use of the Ocean Patriot semi. Songa Venus is contracted to Shell for work in the Browse asin off Western Australia and to cover the Roc work in Bass Strait in July would have meant a long and expensive mobilization. Ocean Patriot is already in the strait. It will now carry out the planned 60-90 day program for Roc in May.

In addition, Roc has reduced its commitment for use of the Kan Tan IV jack up rig to 30 days from 143 days (originally to begin in March; now to begin in late 2010). This has been achieved through assignments of the rig to existing consortium members for work elsewhere.

Roc also says the gas flaring conditions for the BMG project have been revised to allow production to continue while modifications are made to the Crystal Ocean floating production, storage, and offloading vessel, which will remove the need for flaring during normal operations.

New topside facilities on the vessel include a low-pressure flare recovery compressor package to supplement the reinjection of produced gas. Cost of the new facilities, due for completion during the fourth quarter of this year, will be $10 million (Aus.).

The aim of all these measures is to reduce overall development costs and ensure investments for the project are carefully managed in the time of lower oil prices and unsteady financial markets.

Interests holders in the project are Roc (through its ownership of Anzon Australia) 40%, Beach Petroleum 30%, Cieco Exploration & Production 20%, and Sojitz Energy 10%.

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