ASEAN KEY DESTINATIONS
Total: Third well drill at MLJ3 under way
TOTAL E&P Borneo BV (TEPB) is in the process of drilling a third well at the third platform of the Maharaja Lela Jamalul Alam Field (MLJ3), a move that will help solidify the company’s daily target of 50,000 barrels of oil equivalent.
General Manager of TEPB Vincent Dutel yesterday said that drilling at the third well for natural gas is currently at a depth of 5,300 metres, just 200 metres away from their target.
“This is one of the deepest drilling operations in the region and we are very close to the final depth.
“But the deeper we go, the more challenging the targeted geological panels are due to higher pressure and temperature... We are paying special attention (to this) so we can continue to drill safely,” said Dutel on the sidelines of TEPB’s celebration of 25 years of the Block B Joint Venture (BBJV) it operates.
The three MLJ platforms — all normally unmanned unless drilling, maintenance or construction is taking place — currently combine to 12 actively producing wells.
The gas is piped directly to Total’s onshore processing plant in Lumut and then to nearby Brunei LNG where it is converted into liquefied natural gas that is exported.
Dutel said TEPB is planning to drill another three wells at MLJ3 in the future, taking the platform’s producing wells to six.
“We actually have the capacity to drill up to 12 (total) wells for MLJ3,” said Dutel. “But right now (we are) focusing on maintaining the level of production (of 50,000 barrels of oil equivalent) until 2020.”
Construction for MLJ3, which has boosted TEPB’s production by 30 per cent, began in the middle of 2014 with a projected budget in the region of US$1 billion.
Included was a locally produced jacket fabricated by Energy Industry Competency Framework trainees at the Petroleum Brunei (PB) Fabrication Yard in Muara.
However Dutel revealed that they were able to deliver the project at close to US$200 million less by optimising their resources.
Dutel said they worked to remove the bottleneck at their onshore processing plant, carefully planned the duration needed for costly processes like drilling and shutdowns, and leveraged on their experience in setting up the first two platforms.
He also explained that they approached construction and upgrades as strictly fit-for-purpose. “We did not build what was not useful to us. We call this good enough (for purpose) design,” he said.
He added that condensates, which are separated from the natural gas produced from the wells, are also being put to use by Brunei Shell Petroleum facilities.
TEPB has gone 17 years without loss-time injury, coinciding with the year gas production began at the MLJ field, which lies 50 kilometres offshore.
Total’s Senior Vice-President of the Asia Pacific Oliver de Langavant congratulated TEPB on the achievement as proof that operations in Brunei meet Total’s principles of safety, operational excellence and cost-effectiveness.
Yesterday’s celebratory event was attended by Yang Berhormat Pehin Datu Singamanteri Colonel (Rtd) Dato Seri Setia (Dr) Hj Mohammad Yasmin Hj Umar, the Minister of Energy and Industry at the Prime Minister's Office, who also toured their onshore processing facility in Lumut.
MLJ falls under BBJV, which TEPB is the operator of with a 37.5 per cent interest.
Other stakeholders are Shell Deepwater Borneo Limited with 35 per cent and PB ExPro with 27.5 per cent.
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