Made in Malaysia

Audrey Raj

October 1, 2016

Audrey Raj speaks to Shell and Technip about Malikai’s TLP, a first-of-its-kind designed and built in Malaysia for the field offshore Sabah.

Malikai TLP onboard Dockwise White Marlin HTV. Photos from Shell.

This year, Shell and the Technip-Malaysia Marine and Heavy Engineering (MMHE) joint venture (TMJV) concluded the onshore fabrication and commissioning of the Malikai tension leg platform (TLP), destined to unlock substantial deepwater resources in the Malikai field 100km offshore Sabah, Malaysia.

The completion and sail away of Malaysia’s first TLP is a major milestone for the country’s oil and gas industry, given that the design, engineering, fabrication, and onshore commissioning were all done at Pasir Gudang in Johor, southern Malaysia.

Discovered in 2004, the Malikai field is Shell’s second deepwater project in Malaysia, following the successful start-up of the Gumusut-Kakap field last year, from a deepwater semisubmersible, which now contributes up to 25% of Malaysia’s oil output.

A joint venture between Shell (35%, operator), ConocoPhillips Sabah (35%), and Petronas Carigali (30%), Malikai is expected to come online early 2017 and have a peak production of 60,000 b/d. The field lies in about 500m water depth and comprises two main reservoirs, Kinarut and Kamunsu-2. It is part of the Block G production-sharing contract awarded by Petronas in 1995. 

Wells for the Malikai development will be drilled from the 27,500-tonne TLP production facility, using a separate tender-assisted drilled unit. While the first stage of tophole drilling was completed in January 2015, the main drilling campaign will take place in 2016.

Through Malikai, Shell introduced a number of advanced deepwater technologies to unlock deepwater resources safely and efficiently, says Simon Ong, managing director, Shell Global Solutions Malaysia, Projects and Technology. “For example, it’s the first TLP coupled with a tender assisted drilling rig, which allows cost saving, as opposed to using a permanent dedicated rig,” he told OE.

Malikai TLP, project team

Malikai TLP.

While it is a deepwater project, Malikai will produce via the Kebabangan (KBB) shallow water platform, 50km away. The TLP is designed to partially process the gross production before evacuation to KBB, where it will be further processed before being sent onshore to the Sabah Oil & Gas Terminal for storage and offloading to tankers.

In April 2016, the Malikai TLP loadout was safely completed on to the heavy transport vessel (HTV) Dockwise White Marlin. The platform was then brought to a near-shore location to allow the structure to float on its own.

Once the platform was floated-off of the vessel, further technical evaluations were conducted. The TLP was then towed back to the construction yard and berthed quayside at the fabrication yard for remaining construction and commissioning activities.

The 43-month construction of the Malikai TLP by TMJV, wasn’t an easy one. Though, the team faced several, exceptional engineering and design challenges, that didn’t stop TMJV from delivering the project safely with a high level of local content. “[The] Malikai TLP is the first [TLP] for Shell outside the Gulf of Mexico, and an overwhelming majority of the project team are Malaysians,” Ong says. “The Malikai project brings capability development and contributes significant local content. The platform is designed in Malaysia; built in Malaysia; and will be operated by Malaysians. Collectively, the project has completed over 23 million man hours, including 10 million work hours without a loss time injury.”

It’s also a catalyst for MMHE, Ong says. Through the project, MMHE successfully achieved significant benchmarks in productivity, such as installing over 400 piping spool pieces and pulling more than 35km cables weekly, and fabricating 1000-tonne of steel structure a month.

Technical challenges, technologies

The project offered unique technical challenges throughout engineering, procurement and construction, including during the design of the hull and tendons, the topsides mating super lift, loadout, and float-off phases.

There was also delays in delivery of some the equipment packages, says Patrick Hazlet, Malikai project director, Technip. “This resulted in changing the construction sequence, particularly for the topsides, to allow for equipment installation by skidding from the side or lifting through openings in the decks above,” he says.

“The super lift operation to integrate the topsides with the hull was the world’s first jacking and skidding operation ever conducted on this scale. The topside was constructed adjacent to the hull and when both were completed the topside was jacked up and skidded onto the hull.

“Extensive engineering to design the temporary works were required, together with detailed planning and subsequent execution of the operation, to successfully complete the super lift as planned,” he adds.

Global heavy lift specialist ALE weighed and transported the four hull blocks, living quarters and mega beams for the super lift activities. This included skidding the topsides above ALE’s Mega Jack System, jacking up the topsides using the Mega Jack System, skidding the topsides above the hull, and mating the topsides to the hull.

Following the super lift came the load out of the Malikai TLP onto the HTV. Hazlett said that too required careful design and operation of the hydraulic skidding arrangement and the ballasting system on the HTV. All so to ensure no overloading of the hull structure, particularly at the crossover stage when the load started to transfer from the quayside to the HTV.

During float-off of the TLP in deepwater offshore Desaru, the distribution of ballast in the hull was also critical, to give an even keel condition to ensure clearance of the HTV deck. Contracted by TMJV, InterMoor was responsible for the marine aspects of the float-off and tow of the Malikai TLP through the Johor Straits into the Singapore Straits.

The work scope included engineering analysis and procedures, project management for the nearshore operations, management of chartered vessels, provision of offshore personnel and various ancillary services. InterMoor also subcontracted UTEC Offshore Survey to provide survey and positioning for the TLP and marine spread.

The Malikai field will require about 17 wells drilled. During tophole drilling, Shell used IKM Group’s mud circulation system technology, which prevents the discharge of drilling fluid, reducing environmental impact. Shell says the main drilling campaign will be conducted from aboard the platform using the tender assisted drilling unit, which helps to remove the need for a heavier platform rig and lowers costs.

Furthermore, the Malikai platform uses a special kind of pipe, or riser, for both drilling and production, each with a single lining. A system onboard holds the multi-use risers in place overhead. This innovative approach eliminates the cost of using two traditional sets of risers while cutting the number of steps needed to drill a well.