Woodside Calls Tenders for Enfield Floater

Woodside Energy Ltd. has started the tender process for the first major element of its proposed Enfield development off Western Australia's northwest coast.

Several international shipbuilders have been invited to tender for construction of the hull of a floating production, storage and offloading (FPSO) vessel, which will be moored over Woodside's wholly-owned Enfield discovery in permit WA271P, about 130km west of Onslow.

Enfield has reserves of more than 100 million barrels of oil and is one of three major discoveries in the permit that have total reserves of more than 300 million barrels. Woodside's Australian Oil Director, Keith Spence, said the tender process was a key milestone for Enfield, a project that would contribute significantly to Woodside’s growth strategy.

"It has been necessary to start the tender process ahead of final government approvals for Enfield because of the time required to evaluate tenders and prepare for construction," Mr. Spence said.

He said the final investment decision for the project would be made in the second quarter of 2004, with first oil from the field scheduled for 2006. The contract for the hull was expected to be awarded in the middle of this year, with delivery in 2005. The contract for the hull is worth more than A$100 million. The shipbuilders invited to tender were chosen after a pre-qualification process. Australian companies do not have the capability to build the hull.

Tenders for the turret mooring and the engineering, procurement and construction management contract for the FPSO project will be invited within the next few weeks. Procurement of topsides equipment and topside fabrication will begin in late 2003. The FPSO will be a Suezmax-type trading tanker modified for FPSO operations. It will be a double-hull construction, will have deadweight of about 150,000 tonnes and will be about 270 meters long. It will have a capacity of about 900,000 barrels of oil and a production rate at peak of about 100,000 barrels a day.

The vessel will be self-propelled and will be able to disconnect from the turret mooring and sail way in cyclones.

Mr. Spence said FPSO technology was proven, reliable and already used successfully off the northwest coast of Australia.

With FPSOs, oil and gas from the reservoirs are processed on board with crude oil separated from water and gas and stored in tanks for transfer to trading tankers. With Enfield, subterranean water produced with the oil will be reinjected into the reservoir. Gas will also be reinjected or possibly piped to shore for domestic supply. Woodside is now preparing its final environmental impact statement on the development for Environment Australia. A government decision on the development is expected in June. The project will then require a production license from the Commonwealth.