Regulator approves Santos plan for new Van Gogh wells

Australian petroleum regulator NOPSEMA has accepted an environment plan by Santos for the Van Gogh field infill development phase II (VGID2) installation off Australia, which will include three new wells.

Existing Van Gogh / Coniston infrastructure - Santos
Existing Van Gogh / Coniston infrastructure; Source: Santos

Santos operates the Van Gogh, Coniston, and Novara fields via an FPSO vessel, the Ningaloo Vision.

Santos made a Final Investment Decision on the Van Gogh infill development phase two project, which will maximize field production, access additional reserves, and lower unit production costs, back in March 2020.

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The Van Gogh, Coniston, and Novara drilling and completions Environment Plan (EP) is a five-year drilling EP to drill up to six additional wells in the licence area WA-35-L and WA-55-L.

The EP was accepted by the National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environmental Management Authority (NOPSEMA) in November 2016.

In 2018, two production wells were drilled under the EP and Santos now proposes to drill three additional dual lateral wells under the same drilling EP.

Installation activities to tie these three new wells back to the FPSO is the subject of this EP, NOPSEMA explained.

The scope of this EP covers the installation activities needed to tie in the three new dual lateral wells into the existing infrastructure at Drill Centre 1 (DC1) and Drill Centre 2 (DC2), including well installation, pre-commissioning, cold commissioning, and surveys.

Van Gogh Phase II infill drilling and installation location map; Source: Santos

Following the completion of the activities under this EP, production operations are covered under the NOPSEMA accepted Ningaloo Vision Operations EP.

The VGID2 installation will take place entirely within production licence WA-35-L. Activities associated within the scope of this EP will be conducted within a defined ‘Operational Area’, which is a 500 m radius around DC1 and DC2 respectively.

DC1 and DC2 are situated around 2 km apart in an approximate water depth of 380 m. They are located approximately 45 km from the North West Cape and 110 km from the town of Onslow Western Australia.

VGID2 installation activities will be undertaken in two campaigns. Campaign 1 (DC1) is estimated to last 9 days and Campaign 2 (DC2), is estimated to last 13 days.

Allowing for weather and operational delays, the total time required to install the wells could be up to 50 days.

The earliest date for the beginning of the activity for Santos is 2Q 2021 with all activity completed on, or before 31 December 2022.