Ophir oil field located offshore peninsular Malaysia commenced production in October 2017. Image courtesy of SPT Offshore.
SPT Offshore installed the platform for Ophir oil field. Image courtesy of SPT Offshore.

Ophir oilfield is a shallow-water oilfield located 230km off the east coast of peninsular Malaysia in 70m of water.

The offshore oilfield was developed by Ophir Production, a joint venture (JV) between the field operator Octanex, which holds 50% interest in the field, Scomi Energy Services (30%) and PETRONAS’ subsidiary Vestigo Petroleum (20%).

The development was taken up under a risk service contract (RSC) granted by PETRONAS in January 2014.

The Ophir oilfield development was officially started in the middle of 2015 and the field was brought on-stream in October 2017.

A full process shut-in triggered by a power fault in January 2018 led to a halt in production, although the field was expected to produce for at least three years.

With the failure to restore production and with post-drill reviews suggesting lower than anticipated oil production, Ophir Production had suspended the wells and was mulling the termination of RSC for Ophir as of April 2018.

Production facilities at Ophir oilfield

The Ophir development comprises three horizontal production wells, a wellhead platform (WHP), and a leased Floating Production Storage and Offload (FPSO) vessel.

The three wells at Ophir, called A1, A2 and A3,were drilled using the NAGA 2 jack-up rig, to a total depth of 3,275m, 3,070m and 3,332m respectively.

The Ophir wellhead platform consists of 350t topsides on a tri-legged jacket supported by suction pile foundation. The wellhead platform is connected to the FPSO via an 8in-diameter,350m-long pipeline.

The FPSO for Ophir has a processing capacity of 15,000 barrels of fluid a day and a storage capacity of 350,000 barrels of crude.

Oil production at Ophir

The field development plan of the project estimated the production to be approximately 5.2 million barrels of oil throughout the life of the field. A study based on dynamic reservoir model predicted an aggregate 6.7 million barrels of oil production from the three wells, over the estimated three-year life of the oilfield.

The maximum output of the Ophir development during the first 25 days of oil production was recorded at 3,000 barrels a day. The oil field was, however, observed to be producing higher than expected gas and lower than predicted oil.

Ophir development cost and financing

Although the total cost of the field development was initially estimated to be $135m, the project cost was reduced by 30% to $90m after a fall in industrial oil prices.

The Ophir development project was financed by a syndicate of Malayan Banking (Maybank), RHB Bank and United Overseas Bank.

“The Ophir development comprises three horizontal production wells, a wellhead platform (WHP), and a leased Floating Production Storage and Offload (FPSO) vessel.”

Discovery and development details of the oilfield

The oil field was discovered by Ophir-1 well followed by the drilling of four appraisal wells. The 3D seismic data for the Ophir oilfield was collected in 2011.

The resource owner PETRONAS awarded the RSC for the oil field development in 2014 and approved Ophir Production’s  final development plan in 2015. Construction works started in February 2016.

Production drilling contract for the project was awarded in November 2016and the drilling of all three production wells was completed using the NAGA 2 jack-up rig by August 2017.

The wellhead platform for the oilfield was installed by April 2017.

Contractors involved

Malaysia-based company Muhibbah Engineering was awarded the engineering, procurement, construction, installation and commissioning (EPCIC) contract for the Ophir wellhead platform in November 2015.

Muhibbah Engineering used its Klang yard, located 40km south-west of Kuala Lumpur, to fabricate the Ophir platform before installing it at the Ophir field.

Netherlands-based SPT Offshore was subcontracted by Muhibbah Engineering to transport and install the platform offshore.

Malaysian company UMW Offshore Drilling provided jack-up drilling rig services for the project.

MTC Engineering, a company also based in Malaysia, was responsible for the conversion of the oil tanker Puteri Bangsa into the FPSO used at Ophir.