Marginal in Malaysia

John Sheehan

August 1, 2016

Malaysia’s MISC has built a minimal facilities FPSO for use on marginal fields. John Sheehan takes a look.

Malaysia Marine and Heavy Engineering handle the conversion (fabrication, installation and integration) of the FSO MaMPU 1.

Photo from Malaysia Marine and Heavy Engineering

Tapping the potential of marginal oil and gas fields offshore Malaysia will be a key to the country’s aims to grow oil and gas production by 5%/yr up to 2020.

Malaysia, which has 409 oil and gas fields and the second largest reserves in Southeast Asia, currently produces about 730,000 b/d of crude oil and 2 Bcf/d of natural gas, making it the world’s third largest exporter of LNG.

Production growth is expected to come from enhancing output from existing fields as well as from new marginal fields coming onstream. These marginal fields are expected to contribute an additional 55,000 b/d in output by 2020.

Shipping company MISC Berhad, which is continuing to expand into the offshore arena, has developed a solution for tapping these smaller fields with a marginal mobile production unit (MaMPU), which complies with marine standards for offshore oil and gas production.

Syed Hashim Syed Abdullah, vice president of offshore business, MISC, told OTC Asia earlier this year: “We looked at how we could address the economic requirements of marginal fields. There is a huge capex involved in developing fields with FPSOs, FSOs and FSUs, so MISC came up with the MaMPU concept to provide a technical solution to monetize stranded fields.”

He said the marginal fields off Malaysia could remain undeveloped because of the huge cost of putting in infrastructure.

To cut these costs, MISC has converted an oil tanker into the MaMPU1 production unit, which offers 318,000 bbl of storage capacity, 15,000 b/d of oil processing capacity, and gas handling capacity of 25 MMcf/d.

The spread-moored vessel is designed to produce from fields with proven reserves of between 3-10 MMbbl. It is aimed at tapping a cluster of 4-6 oil fields to be developed over a 10-15 year time span.

The tanker was converted at the Malaysia Marine and Heavy Engineering yard in Johor in just eight months. It contains a central control room and an accommodation block for up to 45 people.

A NGLTech Sep i-SYS crude oil separation unit has been installed on the topsides to separate the produced oil, gas and water. The compact system is relatively lightweight and has minimal controls. It is capable of handling a large slug volume as well as sand without causing flow fluctuations.

MISC is understood to be offering the MaMPU1 for use on the Ophir field development project off Malaysia. Development plans for the field involve a single wellhead platform, from which three producers will be drilled, and a leased FPSO.

The MaMPU concept is similar to one being touted for marginal fields in the North Sea by Amplus Energy Services for its versatile production unit (VPU).

The Amplus VPU (OE: May 2016) uses proven FPSO and DP vessel technology and is based on the concept of the Seillean (gaelic for honeybee) FPSO. The Seillean was originally developed by BP in the mid-late 1980s to perform production, storage and transportation operations on the various marginal field developments BP had in its North Sea portfolio at that time. It was designed to suck up oil from small fields and quickly move on.

Amplus Managing Director Ian Herd said that the VPU is based on a standardized approach, with the concept being dubbed “project Mondeo” after the ubiquitous Ford car.

“We already have invested more than US$5 million in the development of our VPU, and it has been specifically designed for small/medium-sized fields or as an early production system on larger fields,” Herd said.

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