(EnergyAsia, March 29) — ExxonMobil Exploration and Production Malaysia Inc. (EMEPMI), a subsidiary of Exxon Mobil Corporation, said it has begun producing crude oil from the Irong Barat C satellite platform off Peninsular Malaysia. Irong Barat C is the first of two platforms under the Satellite Fields Development III (SFD III) project to come onstream.

The Irong Barat field, discovered in 1979, is located about 210 km off the east coast of Peninsular Malaysia, in approximately 64 metres of water. Irong Barat C is the third platform to be installed to develop the field, after Irong Barat A and B, which began production in November 1983 and September 2003 respectively.

The company said the produced oil will flow via a new 12-inch pipeline to the Irong Barat A platform four kilometres away, and then to shore via existing pipelines.

“The SFD III project uses a number of technological advancements for marginal fields development,” said EMEPMI Chairman Rob Fisher. “It is another example of our commitment to optimising existing infrastructure to capture reserves faster and at lower development costs.”

He noted that the project underscores EMEPMI’s strategy to use ExxonMobil world-class best practices and efficiencies to lower costs and maximise economic recovery from mature producing areas.

The SFD III project consists of the Irong Barat C and Guntong F platforms, which were fabricated in Malaysia. The project is being developed by EMEPMI under the terms of the 1995 Production Sharing Contract (PSC) with PETRONAS. EMEPMI holds a 78% working interest in the 1995 PSC, with PETRONAS Carigali Sdn Bhd (PCSB) holding the balance.

To optimise development costs, Irong Barat C was designed as an unstaffed minimum facility platform supported by a lightweight tripod jacket. EMEPMI said its application of new splitter wellhead technology, used for the first time in its Malaysian operations, will enable up to 16 wells to be drilled from 12 slots on the platform.

Installed in October 2004, Irong Barat C is expected to produce 17,000 barrels per day of crude oil at its peak and recover in excess of 25 million barrels of oil over its lifetime.

The company said the total project development cost for Irong Barat C is estimated at RM407 million (US$107 million).

EMEPMI is the largest crude oil producer and a major supplier of natural gas in Malaysia. EMEPMI produces approximately 240,000 barrels of crude oil and 1.1 billion cubic feet of gas per day