Scomi, Octanex, Vestigo JV May Bag Petronas' Deal to Develop Ophir Cluster

Malaysia's oilfield and marine services company Scomi Energy Services Bhd and joint venture partner Australia's exploration firm Octanex N.L. might bag a contract from Petroliam Nasional Bhd (Petronas) to develop a marginal oilfield off Terengganu, Malaysia, local newspaper The Star reported Friday.

The Ophir cluster, one of 10 marginal oilfields tendered out by Petronas under its third round of risk service contract (RSC) licensing program, is estimated to contain 5.1 million barrels of recoverable oil. Development cost for the project is estimated at $130-$200 million, according to the newspaper.

Petronas is expected to announce winners for the third round of RSCs later this month.

Joint venture partners bidding for the Ophir cluster RSC are Scomi Energy, with a 30 percent stake, while Octanex and Vestigo Petroleum Sdn Bhd - a unit of Petronas' upstream subsidiary Petronas Carigali Sdn Bhd - hold 50 percent and 20 percent equity interest, respectively, a source told The Star.

Under the RSC licensing program, contractors, which must include a Malaysian partner, will provide up-front capital investment and bear initial costs for project development. They will be reimbursed only after the pre-development phase or the production of first oil. Contractors will also receive remuneration fees, subject to certain targets being met and at a pre-agreed ceiling. Petronas retains ownership and control of the reserves in the awarded fields.

The first RSC licensing program, launched in 2011, involved the award of the Berantai cluster off Terengganu to SapuraKencana Petroleum Bhd and UK-based Petrofac Limited. The second round of RSC licensing in 2012 saw Dialog Group Bhd and Roc Oil Co. Ltd. winning the Balai cluster off Sarawak, while the development of Kapal, Banang and Meranti (KBM) cluster located off Peninsular Malaysia was awarded to Petra Energy Bhd and Coastal Energy Co.

Meanwhile, the Tembikai and Chenang fields off Terengganu are being developed by Vestigo, which was set up in July by Petronas to undertake development and production activities from small, marginal and mature fields in Malaysia and abroad.

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