Nippon Oil Exploration Malaysia (NOMA) Limited, a subsidiary of Japan’s Nippon Oil Corp, said that commercial production has begun at the Helang gas field off Sarawak state in Malaysia. NOMA is a subsidiary of Nippon Oil Exploration Limited (NOEX), the upstream arm of Nippon Oil Corporation.

In 1987, NOMA bought a 75% working interests in Block SK-10, in which Helang is located. The field was discovered in 1990. As operator, NOMA has been building Helang’s gas producing facilities since April 2000.

At its peak, the field is expected to produce 250 million cubic feet/day (mmcfd) of natural gas and 10,000 barrels/day of condensates. The gas and the condensate will be delivered through sub-sea pipeline to Bintulu port in Sarawak to be separated and liquefied at the MLNG Tiga Plant owned by Malaysia LNG TIGA Sdn. Bhd.

The LNG is then sold to end users including Japanese utility companies while the condensates are sold at wellhead to state Petronas of Malaysia.

Another subsidiary, Nippon Oil Exploration Sarawak (NOSA) Limited is participating in the construction of a gas producing facility in the Serai and Jintan gas fields in Block SK-8, located adjacent to Block SK-10.

Serai and Jintan are expected to begin producing gas next year. The combined production of Helang, Serai and Jintan is estimated at 1,050 mmscfd of gas and 23,000 b/d of condensates from the third quarter of 2004.