Su Ten Den Scheduled to Come Onstream in November

The Su Tu Den field offshore Vietnam is scheduled to begin production in early November, about three years after initial discovery. ConocoPhilipps estimates Su Tu Den, or Black Lion, holds reserves at 100 to 400 million barrels.

"We have a date we're going for, the sixth of November. Everything looks like that will be a good date," Georg Storaker, president of ConocoPhillips Ltd Vietnam, said. Storaker said weather may delay the start-up as the region is in the middle of the typhoon season.

The project's 65,000-barrel-per-day (bpd) floating production storage and offloading (FPSO) facility is expected to set sail from South Korea at the weekend to be installed on Block 15-1 in the Cuu Long Basin, off the southern province of Ba Ria-Vung Tau.

"We're likely to try to settle and stabilize at somewhere in the order of 40,000 (bpd), but whenever we get the facilities going the way we like it, and if the reservoir responds, there's probably not much holding us back in increasing that somewhat," Storaker said.

The field operator, Cuu Long Joint Operation Co, is 50-percent owned by state-oil company Petrovietnam. ConocoPhillips has a 23.25 percent stake in the field, Korea National Oil Corp holds 14.25 percent, South Korea's biggest oil refiner SK Corp nine percent and Geopetrol 3.5 percent.

"We'll start water injection of the field in the middle of next year, and that will be another factor in determining or changing the reserves, and to what level we can drain the reserves from the field," Storaker said.

Further exploration wells are planned for Block 15-1, in which Su Tu Den is located. Su Tu Trang (White Lion) is another structure there. A wildcat well is being drilled there right now. An appraisal well is also planned for Su Tu Vang (Golden Lion) by the end of the year. "We have made a discovery there," he said. "No decision has been made on development yet, we're in the data gathering mode."