Canadian independent Valeura Energy is forging ahead with the expansion of its Nong Yao oilfield offshore Thailand, where it intends to boost production by 50% next year.

In the third quarter of this year, Valeura completed construction of a three-kilometre pipeline at the Nong Yao field to tie existing infrastructure into the mobile offshore production unit (MOPU), that is anticipated to be mobilised to the field in early 2024.

Former Nong Yao operator Mubadala Energy in September last year awarded Malaysian services company T7 Global a 400 million ringgit (US$84.25 million) contract to supply the MOPU for the Nong Yao C expansion project.

T7 Global at the time said its subsidiary Tanjung Offshore Services had entered into a charter contact with Mubadala subsidiary Busrakham G11 that covers the leasing, operation and maintenance of the MOPU for a fixed five-year term. The original contract value could be boosted if Valeura exercises the potential two-year extension.

Construction work on the MOPU is ongoing and Valeura on Monday said it expects the facility to mobilise to the field early in the first quarter of next year with development drilling planned thereafter. Valeura is currently performing an infill drilling campaign at the existing Nong Yao A platform, which will continue until the end of the year.

“The Nong Yao C development project is targeting an increase in Nong Yao production from its current rates to approximately 11,000 barrels per day in mid-2024,” the operator said.

Nong Yao lies in the central part of the Pattani basin, about 160 kilometres offshore and in a water depth of 75 metres.

Valeura earlier this year acquired Mubadala’s Thai upstream assets that included a 90% operated interest in Block G11/48, which hosts the Nong Yao field.

However, production still remains shut in at Valeura’s Wassana oilfield offshore Thailand.

On 7 July, Valeura temporarily suspended production operations at Wassana as a precautionary measure to address safety concerns with the third-party contractor that operates the field’s floating storage and offloading vessel. Wassana, which typically produces 2400 bpd — about 10% of the operator’s output — is exploited via wellhead platforms tied back to the MT Jaka Taruba FSO.

All is not lost for Valeura though as two recent appraisal wells drilled on the Wassana field confirmed the presence of significant additional undeveloped oil volumes.

“New volumes identified this quarter at our Wassana field are leading to a complete reimagining of the scale of the field, where we estimate there are at least 20 new development drilling targets,” Valeura chief executive Sean Guest said.

“Operational excellence is a priority for us as well, and this quarter we have taken deliberate strides required to be a world-class operator. This includes having adjusted our team to add critical operational leadership capabilities and taking tough decisions to intervene in our Wassana production operations, where safety practices did not meet our high standards,” he said.

Valeura is now transitioning vessel management of the Wassana FSO to a new subcontractor and anticipates restarting production in during the fourth quarter.

While the field has been offline, Valeura has conducted several well workovers and drilled two appraisal wells on the flanks of the field, targeting deeper portions of the reservoir as identified on recently reprocessed 3D seismic data.

The wells were successful in proving the presence of oil deeper than previously demonstrated and, as a result, Valeura has begun a review of development options to expand the Wassana production infrastructure, which could increase production and extend the field life beyond 2030.

The Singapore-headquartered operator has commissioned a project team to select a suitable development concept for redevelopment of the field and anticipates taking the final investment decision in 2024.

Valeura, which is now debt free, reported a comprehensive loss of US$6.8 million for the three months ended 30 September compared to a comprehensive loss of US$5.2 million in the third quarter of last year.

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