Santos fires starting gun for Dorado FPSO supply competition

Australia’s Santos is pushing forward with its Dorado field development, located in the Bedout Basin offshore Western Australia. The competitive process for the supply of the FPSO has started and a shortlist of contractors will be invited to tender for the wellhead platform shortly.

Dorado field illustration; Source: Santos
Dorado field illustration
Dorado field illustration; Source: Santos

Discovered in 2018 and appraised in 2019, the Dorado development is located in WA-437-P where Santos is the operator with an 80 per cent interest and Carnarvon Petroleum is its partner with the remaining 20 per cent.

The partners’ preferred development concept is an initial phase of oil and condensate development followed by a future phase of gas export. Shallow water depth allows for simple wellhead platform (WHP) and FPSO development.

In an update on Wednesday, Carnarvon said that Pre-Front End Engineering Design (pre-FEED) contracts were recently awarded to three contractors.

Under the terms of the contracts, the parties will work independently to advance their FPSO designs and mature their vessel construction plans and supply terms. The award of these contracts enables the joint venture to maintain its project schedule.

FEED award later this year

One of the pre-FEED contractors will be selected at the end of the pre-FEED stage to start the formal FEED work.

The award of the FEED contract is expected to occur later this calendar year. The pre-FEED process will also determine the contracting strategy for the FPSO.

By appointing three contractors to separately undertake this engineering and design work, the joint venture will be able to consider the optimal technical design, cost and schedule for the provision of the FPSO.

WHP tender soon

Expressions of Interest (EOI) have now been received from a significant number of companies for the fixed wellhead platform that will support the production and ancillary wells and connect to and supply the FPSO.

A shortlist of contractors will shortly be invited to tender for all or relevant parts of the WHP work including engineering and design, fabrication of jacket and topsides, and transport & installation into the field.

Additional work for this project, including the preparation of the Field Development Plan and Offshore Project Plan, are also progressing on schedule.

FID in 2021?

The FEED process for the Dorado field development is a relatively low-cost phase within the total field development.

The joint venture intends to progress this phase broadly as scheduled, subject to operational impacts associated with COVID-19 restrictions.

The current schedule has the Final Investment Decision (FID) slated for 2021, however, this will be subject to market conditions at the relevant time.

Carnarvon’s Managing Director, Adrian Cook, said: “The award of the pre-FEED contracts for the supply of an FPSO is a significant step and demonstrates the momentum which is building within the Dorado development project”.

Cook further added: “It is pleasing to have experienced, world-class FPSO contractors appointed to the Dorado project. The shortlisted organisations have supplied excellent vessels in recent times and Carnarvon looks forward to working with them during the next phase of the project to ensure we have an optimised technical and financial solution.

“Along with the great industry response to the expressions of interest for the supply and installation of a wellhead platform, Carnarvon is looking forward to all the necessary items being in place for a final investment decision on the Dorado project in 2021.

Progressing the project now provides the Joint Venture with the greatest case to make the final investment decision next year if, as we expect, market conditions have improved”.