Countdown to First Gas at Gajah Baru

Premier Oil is set to bring its Gajah Baru natural gas field online in October 2011. The field is in Block A in the West Natuna Sea, Indonesia, in 269 feet (ft) of water, which is near Premier's West Natuna Gas Project.

According to Premier Oil, gas from West Natuna is sold to Singapore under a 27 year gas sales contract in conjunction with other production sharing contracts through the West Natuna Transportation System gas pipeline. When signed in 1999, contract deliveries were expected to be 325 MMscf/d of gas (block A share 120 MMscf/d), but volumes exceed these levels today.

Premier signed separate gas sales agreements with SembCorp Gas, Indonesia's Perusahaan Listrik Negara and Universal Batam Energy for contract gas sales volume of up to 145 Bbtu/d.


Premier Oil operates the field with 28.67 percent interest with co-owners Kufpec holding 33.33 percent interest, Amerada Hess with 23 percent interest and Petronas with 15 percent interest.

Premier drilled the Gajah Baru-1 discovery well in 2000. The well tested to have proven gas columns in eight separate reservoir sands in the Arang formation. According to Premier, the well flowed 40 MMscf/d during testing.

Transocean's Trident XVII jackup drilled the Gajah Baru-1 slim hole well to 5,290 ft.

Trident 17
Trident XVII

In September 2004, Premier drilled the appraisal well, Gajah Baru-2, to 9,010 ft and proved the presence of hydrocarbon reserves in stacked Miocene reservoirs of the Arang formation and the Oligocene sands of the Gabus formation. Premier drilled the top section of the well to 2,214 ft with 13 3/8" casing using a casing-while-drilling technique, establishing a new world record for this method at the time.

Based on appraisal drilling conducted in October 2004, the operator estimates that the field contains 325 Bcf (54 MMboe) of gas.

The field is expected to produce 100 MMcm/d.

Production Plan

Premier Oil received project sanction in 2010. The operator planned to develop the field with subsea wells tied back to a central processing platform and a wellhead platform connected by a bridge.

The wellhead platform was installed in 3Q 2010 and weighs about 900 tons with a jacket weight of about 1,400 tons.

Topsides construction for the central processing platform, which weighs 8,200-tonnes, was completed in June 2011, and left the SMOE fabrication yard in Batam, Indonesia, later that month. Together with the jacket, which weighs about 4,700 tons, the central processing platform includes compression, separation, glycol regeneration, gas metering, mechanical refrigeration, utilities and living quarters for 60 men.

Saipem installed the central processing platform over a jacket that Japan's Nippon Steel in Indonesia built.

Wellhead Platform 3D CADD
Wellhead Platform

The West Callisto jackup is drilling 12-14 exploration and appraisal wells before the end of the year.

West Callisto
West Callisto

Premier will export produced gas through a 16-inch pipeline 2 miles to the onshore Semgas facility in Singapore. The pipeline rests 262 ft under the water's surface.


In May 2009, while Premier waited for project approval, the operator awarded several contracts. The first of which went to Saipem and SMOE Indonesia, who received a $430 million contract for the engineering and construction of a central processing platform, a wellhead platform and a subsea gas pipeline.

PT SMOE Indonesia's portion of the contract entails part procurement, construction engineering, construction, hook-up and commissioning of the two platforms, while PT Saipem Indonesia's scope of work, worth about $280 million, covers engineering design, procurement, transportation and installation of the platforms and the subsea pipeline.

The central processing platform will be installed using the floatover method, while other platform facilities and pipeline will be installed using Saipem's Castoro Otto derrick/lay barge. The marine activities will be completed in 4Q 2011.

Castoro Otto
Castoro Otto

Premier also awarded Nippon Steel Batam a contract to construct the wellhead deck, piles and conductors. The company will also install the central processing platform's jacket and piles.

In August 2009, Premier contracted Process Group to supply a monoethylene glycol regeneration unit for the central processing platform and to supply a produced water treatment unit for the platform, which will be used to separate oil from the produced water. It will be able to treat 2,400 b/d of produced water.

In February 2010, Premier awarded Hutchinson Offshore a contract to provide leg mating and deck support facilities.


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