Noble raises the bar at Bohai Bay

abarrelfullabarrelfull wrote on 29 Aug 2014 12:47


US independent Noble Energy is committed to the expansion of its shallow-water Cheng Dao Xi (CDX) oilfield in Bohai Bay, China, with investments in new production facilities and extra drilling. The company has quietly scored a number of drilling successes this year to boost field production “significantly”to between 7000 and 8000 barrels per day of oil, Noble said. CDX sits in a water depth of just 7.6 metres, and is Noble's sole producing asset in China. Its subsidiary,Energy Development Corporation, has a 57% operating interest in the field with China's Sinopec on 43%. Noble plans to bring in a jack-up rig for more drilling later this year.

Meanwhile, it has committed itself to a field expansion plan that involves the design and construction of two additional wellhead platforms to be installed adjacent to the existing processing platform. To that end, Noble has just awarded a contract to Shengli Engineering & Consulting for the detailed design and engineering of one of the new platforms, said Shengli Engineering. A similar contract for the second platform is still in the bidding phase.

Shengli Engineering said its engineering team in Dongying city would work on the detailed design of a four-pile, two-deck platform with space to accommodate a workover rig. The new platform will be tied into the existing CDX platform, which is connected via an eight-kilometre pipeline to onshore processing and pipeline infrastructure at the Shengli oilfield, owned by Sinopec.

Noble said recently that“significant production growth”was planned thanks to the success of the two-well enhancement programme earlier this year. The company re-drilled two production wells as long-reach horizontals, and president David Stover said Noble planned to bring in a rig“closer to the fourth quarter”, The company intends to drill a couple more wells this year and a similar tally in 2010 to maintain production gains from the field, with the aim of further boosting output by next year, he said.

The fall in US gas prices had prompted Noble to re-allocate some of its capital investment this year away from US onshore“to things such as China development and Israel exploration”. The company's just-retired chief financial officer Chris Tong outlined the attractive economics of its China project. “When we look at some of these horizontal re-drills, for example, we can drill a well for $10 million to $12 million, pick up 2 million barrels of reserves and bring them on at 1500 barrels to 3000 barrels per day,” he said.“So that makes a lot of sense to put a little more money there - that will probably go up $20 million to $30 million or $40 million.”Noble brought the CDX field on stream in January 2003at an initial rate of 6000 bpd. The production platform has capacity for 10,000 bpd of output.

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