Shell may redevelop Thai offshore field

Royal Dutch/Shell Group may resuscitate exploration and production in its oil-bearing B6/27 concession in the Gulf of Thailand. The company has found more hydrocarbon reserves potential in the tract than 2 years ago, said executives of Thai Shell Exploration & Production Co., an affiliate of the Anglo-Dutch oil group. Also, higher oil prices have made the redevelopment of the field more commercially viable.


BANGKOK�Royal Dutch/Shell Group may resuscitate exploration and production in its oil-bearing B6/27 concession block in the Gulf of Thailand. The company has found more hydrocarbon reserves potential in the tract than 2 years ago, said executives of Thai Shell Exploration & Production Co., an affiliate of the Anglo-Dutch oil group. Also, higher oil prices have made the redevelopment of the field more commercially viable.

Earlier this year, Thai Shell began to reexamine the potential of B6/27�where Nang Nuan, Thailand's first offshore oil field, is located�after its efforts late last year to sell part of its wholly owned concessions to international concerns did not bear fruit.

The revival study is under way, and Thai Shell expects to make a decision on the project early in the third quarter of this year. Shell could drill one exploration well before the end of this year and a follow-up well early next year, a Thai Shell executive said.

Project plan
The activities are expected to center around Nang Nuan field, which halted production in August 1997 after technical problems.

The field, off southern Thailand's Chumphon coast, churned out a cumulative 4.25 million bbl of oil. The field recorded a peak production of 10,540 b/d on Jan. 1, 1997. Twenty-two days later, excessive water began to intrude into the formation and damage the oil reservoir. Thai Shell spent $54 million on developing and running the field, which was discovered in December 1987.

"We now think that Nang Nuan could yield 20,000-30,000 b/d of oil," an executive told OGJ Online, adding that the higher crude oil prices worldwide have made oil production from the field more commercially viable.

Meanwhile, Thai Shell is pondering whether to raise crude oil production from the onshore Sirikit oil field, located in the Thai northern provinces of Kamphaeng Phet and Phitsanulok, to 30,000 b/d from the current 24,000 b/d. It is considering whether to use waterflood to enhance output from the kingdom's first commercial onshore field.

Proven oil reserves at Thai Shell's onshore S1 concession, in which Sirikit is located, has risen by nearly 50% in the past few years. The field's reserves stand at 110 million bbl, half of which has already been produced.

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