Malaysia’s national oil company Petronas has suspended production and declared force majeure at its Yetagun gas field offshore Myanmar after output declined significantly.

Operator Petronas Carigali on Thursday declared force majeure at Yetagun that straddles blocks M-12, M-13 and M-14 in the Andaman Sea.

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The giant Yetagun field that had estimated reserves of 3.2 trillion cubic feet of gas came on stream in 2000 at reported initial output of 200 million feet per day of gas. It had been expected to produce until the end of this decade but it is now shut in, at least temporarily.

The decision was taken following challenges in the wells deliverability that resulted in production falling below the technical threshold of the offshore gas processing plant. Petronas has therefore temporarily ceased production at the Yetagun field until further notice.

Subsurface challenges

“Prior to the cessation of production, [the] Yetagun field was producing well below the technical turndown rate of its facilities. There has been a drastic decline in production level due to subsurface challenges in the field since January 2021 and it has further deteriorated recently,” said Petronas Carigali country head, Liau Min Hoe.

“Continuing to produce at a low rate would impose significant risks to the integrity of our assets and the safety of our people. As a responsible operator, we had to temporarily cease production and declare force majeure.

“We have put in place an intervention plan to mitigate the matter and have informed the host authority, our partners and gas buyer of our decision,” he added.

Petronas since 2003 has operated the Yetagun gas project in which it has a 40.9% participating interest. Its partners are state-owned Myanma Oil and Gas Enterprise with 20.5%, Nippon Oil Exploration on 19.3% and PTTEP also having 19.3%.
The operator said it remains committed to the Yetagun project and is taking “all necessary measures to resume production as soon as possible”.