Studies are in works for big floaters

Total has kicked off conceptual studies on two major new floating production projects in Angola that are both due on stream in 2012, writes Iain Esau.

The first, dubbed the "fourth pole" or Clov, lies in Block 17 and covers the Cravo, Lirio, Orquidea and Violeta discoveries.

"We're confident we have enough reserves for a new floating production, storage and offloading vessel," chief executive Thierry Desmarest told investors last week.

The trigger for this project to go ahead may well have been a recent successful appraisal well on Orquidea.

Doris Engineering is believed to be involved in early studies on the Clov project, while soundings have been made among contractors as to the availability of certain hardware.

About five years ago, Total was considering developing just Cravo and Lirio via a smaller FPSO or as subsea tie-backs to existing infrastructure in Block 17.

Total is also studying its Block 32 project, which will take in the Gindungo, Gengibre, Canela and Mostarda discoveries.

Once again, Doris is understood to be involved in early design efforts, although this project is said to lag Clov by some months.

A newbuild FPSO is on the cards with a likely production capacity of 150,000 to 200,000 barrels per day, which would be similar in size to the Clov vessel.

"We're convinced we have found enough for an economic development," said Desmarest.

The supermajor is also working on initial development solutions for another major FPSO project off Congo-Brazzaville based on the Andromede, Pegase and Aurige discoveries in its deep-water Mer Tres Profond Sud block.

Other floater projects may emerge in Nigeria, in OML 130, based on the Egina complex of discoveries.

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