Crude begins arriving on market from Girassol field off Angola

Jan. 16, 2002
London traders have sold Statoil ASA's first 1-million-bbl crude shipment from the $3.5 billion Girassol field project off Angola. Operator TotalFinaElf will inaugurate the field, which began production Dec. 4, with ceremonies in early February.

By the OGJ Online Staff

LONDON, Jan. 16 -- London traders have sold Statoil ASA's first 1-million-bbl crude shipment from the $3.5 billion Girassol field project off Angola.

The shipment will be lifted in mid-February for Statoil. The name of the purchaser and the price were not disclosed but traders suggested the price would be very close to that for Brent, which is hovering around $19/bbl. Statoil said the low-sulfur Girassol oil is similar to North Sea crude.

Statoil has a 13.33% stake in the field, which came on stream on Dec. 4 (OGJ Online, Dec. 4, 2001). Statoil also will market Norsk Hydro ASA's 10% share of Girassol crude. The two companies will receive a 1-million-bbl shipment into Europe every 40 days.

The first cargo of Girasol crude went to the other partners at yearend. A trading subsidary of TotalFinaElf SA, the operator, handled the sale. Again no customers or price details were released.

TotalFinaElf has 40% of the field, ExxonMobil Corp.'s Esso Angola subsidiary has 20%, and BP PLC has 16.67%.

The field started production with six wells. Two more will come on flow in the first week in February. Output is 140,000 b/d, according to members of the TotalFinaElf project team in Angola. Peak production will be 230,000 b/d, although output will be maintained at 200,000 b/d the next 4 years.

Bouyogues Offshore and Stolt Offshore are 50:50 partners in the 2-million-bbl Mar Profondo Girassol FPSO, the world's largest. In addition to storage, the 360-m vessel has a water injection capacity of 390,000 b/d and gas injection of 20 MMcfd at 285 bara.

None of the produced gas on the field will be flared. Sonangol, the Angolan state oil firm, owns the gas and eventually may use it in an LNG export project. When gas is produced, the two gas injection wells will be converted to water injection.

The Girassol development eventually will have 39 wells: 23 oil producers, 14 water injectors, and 2 gas injectors. The first 24-well phase of the development is nearing completion, and the second phase, involving the remaining 15 wells, will be completed by mid-2003. The drillships Pride Africa and Pride Angola have been on the field since 2000 and will remain until late 2003.

Four of the six flowline systems from the wells have been installed and work is near completion on the other two. The lines connect to three self-supporting, 1,250-m tall hybrid riser towers. The towers are anchored to the seabed by a suction pile and held in place by 40-m high steel buoyancy tanks 50 m below the surface. The towers are connected to the FPSO through flexible jumpers.