Unocal to begin oil production from Gulf of Thailand

The US energy firm Unocal Corp. is gearing up to start its first crude oil production in the Gulf of Thailand, a development expected to cost $270 million over the next 6 years. The crude oil production would be the first in the Gulf of Thailand by Unocal, which has produced natural gas and condensate there since 1981.


BANGKOK�The US energy firm Unocal Corp. is gearing up to start its first crude oil production in the Gulf of Thailand, a development expected to cost $270 million over the next 6 years.

Local unit Unocal Thailand has submitted an application to the Thai Department of Mineral Resource for commercial crude oil development from fields known as Yala, Plamuk, Surat, and North Kaphong. Unocal Thailand expects to start producing 3,500 b/d of crude in July next year from Plamuk, Yala, and Surat fields, ramping up to about 15,000 b/d towards yearend, according to Randy Howard, Unocal vice-president for international energy operations.

Earlier this year, Unocal Thailand drilled seven successful wells in these oil prospects, four in Yala and three in Plamuk. These wells encountered an average of 200 ft of hydrocarbon-bearing pay. Unocal estimates these fields, in Blocks [I�m unsure about cap B]10 and 11, contain 33 million bbl of 30-35�crude and condensate and 284 bcf of natural gas.

Unocal plans to install a new oil-processing platform adjacent to its existing gas-processing facilities, as well as a crude oil storage tanker capable of holding 700,000 bbl of crude. For the entire project, the company will install ten platforms.

The crude oil production would be the first in the Gulf of Thailand by Unocal, which has produced natural gas and condensate there since 1981.

Unocal Thailand, along with partners Mitsui Oil Exploration Co. Ltd. (23.75% interest) and PTT Exploration & Production PLC (5%), currently produces 1.1 bcf/day of natural gas and 37,000 b/d of condensate from 13 fields in the gulf.

That gas production fulfills 30% of the country's total power demand; of the natural gas produced, more than 75% is used to generate electricity. The remainder is used for industrial fuel, transportation fuel, cooking gas, and petrochemical feedstock.

Unocal crude production will increase by 25% Thailand's current total indigenous crude oil production. The crude oil will be sold to the state-run Petroleum Authority of Thailand for domestic consumption.

Unocal Thailand said the company and its partners plan to spend about $500 million in petroleum exploration and production activities next year. The group is investing about $400 million this year. Unocal will also continue petroleum prospecting in eight other offshore fields.

More in Production Operations