FEED starts on West Seahorse oil field offshore Australia

By Phaedra Friend Troy

3D Oil has commenced Front End Engineering and Design (FEED) for the development of the West Seahorse oil field in Australia’s Bass Strait, with the final investment decision expected for the second half of 2010.

Most likely, West Seahorse will be developed via a subsea well tied to the shore via a subsea pipeline.

Worley Parsons is working on the concept finalization of this option, where a flexible steel pipeline will be installed by a work boat, rather than a more costly pipelay barge.

From here, oil will be transported to a new crude oil stabilization plant or to a third-party refinery. Estimates for the cost of development are $80 million.

First oil from West Seahorse is expected by 2012, but this is dependent on approvals and the availability of a jackup drilling rig.

Furthermore, 3D is studying the potential to develop the Sea Lion oil field, just to the northwest of the West Seahorse field, via a subsea tieback to this development. This would greatly increase productivity of the development because Sea Lion is estimated to hold 20 million barrels of oil.

West Seahorse Oil Field

Located on Vic/P57 offshore Victoria in Australia’s Bass Strait of the Gippsland Basin, the West Seahorse oil field is estimated to hold 5.3 million barrels of proven and probable reserves, with an additional 3.4 million barrels of contingent resource.

The oil field was discovered in 1981 with the West Seahorse-1 well, which intersected three oil accumulations. Drilled in April 2008, the West Seahorse-3 intersected an 18-meter oil column and was suspended for future use as a producer.

West Seahorse is also situated 2 kilometers from the Seahorse oil field, which has been producing oil for nearly 20 years.

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