Italian energy giant Eni is on track to track in 2023 to take the final investment decision on its Maha ultra-deepwater gas and liquids field development offshore Indonesia, with the field’s Plan of Development expected to be approved next year by the host government.

Partner UK independent Neptune Energy said that in the fourth quarter this year, Eni expects to progress the unitisation agreement for Maha, which straddles the West Ganal and Ganal production sharing contracts.

Maha, discovered back in 2002, lies in a water depth of approximately 3657 feet.

The field is envisaged being exploited as a tie-up to the existing Jangkrik floating production unit (FPU) on the Eni-operated Muara Bakau PSC. Facilities required for the Maha field development are expected to include a subsea manifold, subsea trees and a 16-kilometre pipeline to the FPU.

Successfully appraised in 2021, Maha’s reserves are now pegged at more than 600 billion cubic feet of gas plus some oil and condensate. Production start-up could come as early as 2024 and is expected to peak in 2028 to compensate from failing output from other fields utilising the Jangkrik FPU.

Neptune has a 30% interest in Eni’s West Ganal production sharing contract as does the other partner, Indonesia’s very own Pertamina Hulu Energi.

The co-venturers in the fourth quarter this year are also advancing the POD for the Merakes East field, another satellite tie-back to the Jangkrik FPU.

East Merakes will be exploited in tandem with further infill drilling at the main Jangkrik field, Neptune earlier said.

“Development of both fields will help support continued high utilisation of the Jangkrik FPU,” said Neptune.

Discovered some four years ago, Merakes East is located on Eni’s East Sepinggan PSC, about 33 kilometres from Jangkrik. This field too is targeting start-up in 2024, the same year when a booster compression module is due to come into operation at Jangkrik.

Neptune’s production in Indonesia in the third quarter average 19,300 barrels of oil equivalent per day, which the company said reflected “continued controlled production” from the Jangkrik and Merakes fields.

Exports from the Jangkrik FPU are expected to remain stable next year as the partners optimise production from these two fields.

The majority of the related liquefied natural gas sales –the producing Jangkrik and Merakes deliver feedstock gas to the Bontang LNG project –are on committed contracts, with a small number of cargoes sold on the spot market.

To maintain production in 2023, Eni and partners commenced a three-well side-track programme. During the third quarter, the Jangkrik-12 side-track was completed successfully and the well was brought on stream last month.

The Merakes-7 side-track has commenced drilling and is scheduled to start-up in early December while the Merakes-6 side-track is due to be brought on stream in early 2023, said Neptune.

Exciting, eagerly awaited wildcat

Eni also expects to soon finalise a rig sharing agreement to drill the high-impact Geng North exploration well, which is now scheduled to be spudded in mid-2023 – some three years after the original schedule that was derailed by the coronavirus pandemic.

Development options are already being mooted for Geng North, which is located on the Ganal North PSC.

S&P Global said Geng North is well located for a potential tie-back to Jangkrik, or it could be exploited as a standalone project with its own gas pipeline directly to Bontang LNG.

“If we assume an FPSO-based development tied back to the Bontang LNG plant, then we have estimated that the recoverable volumes required to breakeven are about 900 Bcf [of gas],” S&P Global Commodity Insights earlier said.

Eni North Ganal last week started the tender process, via a prequalification exercise, for two platform supply vessels that are expected to support the Geng North wildcat, a well described as “key” by consultant Rystad Energy.

Operator Eni will only consider vessels that have minimum Class 2 dynamic positioning and each vessel must have at least 600 square metres of deck space.

The minimum local content is 75% for this PSVs contract.

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