Woodside eyes more drilling off Australia
Australian energy giant Woodside has submitted an environment plan (EP) to the country’s offshore regulator for drilling and subsea installation activities off the coast of Australia to bolster its hydrocarbon arsenal.
The National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environmental Management Authority (NOPSEMA) has confirmed that Woodside submitted an environment plan for drilling and subsea installation, proposing to develop the Julimar development project Phase 3 (JDP3) wells and subsea infrastructure, which will connect to the existing Julimar field production system in Commonwealth waters, about 169 km northwest of Dampier, within production licenses WA-49-L, and flowlines/pipelines in WA-26-PL and WA-29-PL.
The scope of the environment plan entails drilling up to four wells in the Julimar field and one well in the Penfolds prospect, located in WA-49-L, along with subsea installation, pre-commissioning, and cold commissioning activities up to the point of introduction of hydrocarbons. Two wells are proposed to connect to a new two-slot production manifold (JULB) which will tie into the existing in-line tee (ILT) assembly within the JDP2 18” flowline, via around 2.5 km of the flexible flowline.
Furthermore, the well accessing the Penfolds prospect will be connected to the JULB manifold by about 4.4 km flexible flowline. The second well connected to the JULB manifold will be offset from the manifold by approximately 100 m and will be connected to the JULB manifold by a flexible jumper. Woodside explains that two new subsea umbilicals and associated flying leads will be installed to provide the required controls for the new wells.
Tie-back to Chevron’s platform
Three wells are planned to tie back to empty slots located at the existing JULA production manifold. While two of the wells will be offset from the JULA manifold by about 300 m, an additional well accessing the J85 reservoir is planned to tie back to the JULA manifold via around 2 km of flexible flowline. Woodside underlines that the JDP3 production system will have a design life of 25 years, producing hydrocarbons from the Julimar and Penfolds reservoirs via the existing Phase 1 and 2 infrastructure and the Chevron-operated Wheatstone platform and onshore LNG plant.
The planned wells will be drilled by either a moored semi-submersible MODU or a hybrid MODU with both moorings and dynamically positioned (DP) systems. The hybrid MODU may operate on DP for some or all of the time, as required. The drilling activities are anticipated to take 60 days per well and could occur any time of year. The flowlines, umbilicals, manifold, and remaining subsea infrastructure will be installed and tested from a primary installation vessel (PIV), which may also support cold commissioning before start-up.
Moreover, Woodside elaborates that cold commissioning could also be performed using a subsea inspection, maintenance, and repair (IMR) vessel while Xmas trees may be installed by the MODU, or with an IMR vessel. The subsea installation is expected to take around 60 days and could occur any time of year. The development activities may occur as a single campaign or over multiple campaigns.
If required, Woodside confirms that it may carry out intervention or workover activities on any of the JDP3 development wells drilled under this EP, and the JULA or Brunello manifold production wells. Other contingent activities that the Australian giant may need to perform during drilling include well abandonment, re-spud, side-track, well suspension, leaving wellhead assembly in situ, sediment mobilization and relocation, venting, well test/unload, and emergency disconnect.
Operated by Chevron on behalf of the Wheatstone joint venture, Wheatstone LNG processes gas from the offshore Wheatstone, Iago, Julimar, and Brunello gas fields, 220 km from Onslow, Western Australia. Once fully operational, Wheatstone LNG will contribute over 13 MMboe of Woodside’s annual LNG and domestic gas production.
Woodside has been busy with several hydrocarbon projects. In September 2023, the Australian player brought on stream a deepwater oil project in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico ahead of the targeted first oil in 2024.
The start of production from the Shenzi North project came only two weeks after Woodside got a green light for a field development plan (FDP) covering a deepwater oil project in the Perdido basin in the Gulf of Mexico, located 30 km south of the Mexico-U.S. maritime border.
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