First steel cut for Thai wellhead platform

LONDON – Salamander Energy has contracted Thai Nippon Steel to design, build, and install the new Bravo wellhead platform for the Bualuang field in the Gulf of Thailand. First steel was cut recently, and the platform is scheduled for delivery in mid 2012.

This was commissioned following a positive review of the performance of the Bualuang main field reservoir, which will require more wells to develop.

Salamander has raised its original estimate of the field’s recoverable oil reserves from 15 MMbbl to 33.5 MMbbl, with 12 MMbbl expected to be added at year-end following recent exploration success at the Bualuang East Terrace.

In the main field, the booked reserves are associated with the Miocene-age T4 sandstone reservoir. However, there is further potential in the T5, T2, and T3 sandstone reservoirs, with wells revealing all to be oil-bearing.

However, the latest phase of development drilling is behind schedule following the delay in the arrival early this year of theOcean Sovereign rig.

This was due to problems with the contactor’s commercial license to operate in Thailand, and subsequent damage to the rig’s legs while jacking up. The rig had to move off location for repairs before returning in April to re-start the drilling program, comprising three new horizontal wells and two workovers.

All are now completed or onstream.

Salamander drilled the Bualuang East Terrace exploration prospect in block B8/38 in June via a deviated pilot hole from the Bualuang wellhead platform. The well encountered around 35 m (115 ft) of net oil pay in sandstone reservoirs across three zones: the upper T5 interval, the deeper T4 interval, and the lower T3 interval.

Development plans are in hand, and the reserves will be targeted during the 2012/13 drilling campaign from the new Bravo wellhead platform. These extra reserves should extend the field’s productive life by two to three years.

Currently the company is seeking a jackup for further exploration on the B8/38 license, with the aim of having a rig on location this fall to drill the Far East prospect and one of the Bualuang NW Terraces.

Far East is a Bualuang analogue with potential resources of 20 MMboe.



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