MAXIMIZING OIL RECOVERY FROM M'SIA'S MATURING OIL FIELDS
12 Jul 2013 11:19
KUALA LUMPUR, July 5 (Bernama) -- Malaysia is set to enhance its crude oil
recovery from its maturing oil fields through the Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR)
technology using its own expertise in petroleum engineering.
Works are already underway to implement EOR at the Tapis oil field located
about 200 kilometers off Terengganu that produces extra-light and low-sulfur
Tapis is one of seven mature offshore fields that ExxonMobil Exploration and
Production Malaysia Inc. (EMEPMI) and PETRONAS Carigali Sdn Bhd (PCSB) have
agreed to develop as part of a 25-year production-sharing contract that was
finalized in 2009.
The EOR is a major engineering milestone for the country as local companies
like SapuraKencana Petroleum Bhd and Malaysia Marine and Heavy Engineering
Holdings Bhd (MMHE) are involved in fabricating the jacket and deck
It is also one of the largest offshore EOR projects in Southeast Asia which
will extend the production lifespan of Malaysia's maturing oil fields.
NEW LEASE OF LIFE FOR OLD FIELDS
Through EOR, also known as the tertiary recovery process, fluids including
water is injected under high pressure into the production wells to maximize oil
Petronas Exploration & Production Technology Divisionâ€™s Head of EOR
Programme, Dr Nasir Darman says EOR is an advanced process that requires a huge
sum of investment and the technologies used are costly.
"EOR cannot be applied to every oil field. PETRONAS as the custodian of
Malaysiaâ€™s petroleum resources is currently studying suitable fields for the
technology to be implemented,â€ he says.
For example, Tapis is considered an old field that first started
production in 1978 and has since produced approximately 400 million barrels of
Like any new oil well, the oil pressure in Tapis was great then and this
made the hydrocarbon extraction process easy but over time the pressure
dissipated and maximizing oil recovery now is challenging.
TAPIS' EOR ON THE RIGHT TRACK
Implementing the EOR calls for lots of heavy engineering work including the
gigantic 70-metre tall Tapis R jacket that was fully fabricated at SapuraKencana
Petroleum Bhdâ€™s yard in Lumut after being awarded the contract in January 2012
Weighing a total of 5,500 metric tonnes, the Tapis R jacket is the
heaviest jacket to be installed by EMEPMI.
EMEPMI Project Executive Douglas C. Smith notes that the eight-legged
jacket to be piled on the seabed in 64 metres water depth in the South China Sea
will support an estimated 18,000 metric-tonne integrated deck.
The deck built at Malaysia Marine and Heavy Engineering Holdings Bhd's
(MMHE) yard in Pasir Gudang will provide the space for gas compression, water
treatment and injection facilities, production-processing
equipment, utilities systems and living quarters for 145 personnel.
â€œWe will install the deck using the float-over method. The whole deck
built in Pasir Gudang will be loaded out on a large heavy lift vessel.
â€œThe vessel will then float-over the jacket, and position the deck on the
jacket before moving away,â€ he says.
Smith notes that the biggest challenge for EOR has been finding the right
EOR technique and the right location for implementation.
SAFETY AND BENEFITS
The jacket that has begun its journey to the site at the Tapis field is
seen as a major achievement as it involved more than 600 workers at the peak of
According to Tapis EOR Project Manager Zaba Abdul Rahim, a total of 800,000
hours without lost time injury was achieved..
â€œWe are proud that the structure was built without a lost-time incident
despite the significant workforce and work hours required,â€ he says.
The Tapis EOR project is among the 12 Entry Point Projects (EPPs) identified
by the Oil, Gas and Energy NKEA Lab in 2010 in creating business and revenue
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