Woodside's Laminaria Oil Field Development Starts On Time

Woodside said the development of Phase 2 of its Laminaria oil field in the Timor Sea started production on schedule Tuesday. The final capital cost estimate of A$127.5 million is within budget. Phase 2 is designed to accelerate production and access to incremental reserves at the Laminaria and Corallina fields.

The Phase 2 development involved the drilling of two new production wells, Laminaria-7 and Laminaria-8. Woodside said initial production from Laminaria-8 is about 50,000 barrels of oil a day, while Laminaria-7 is flowing at a rate of about 20,000 barrels a day.

Ahead of the start up of the two new wells, production at Laminaria and Corallina was averaging about 73,000 barrels a day. The performance of Laminaria is key to Woodside's target of maintaining overall company production in 2002, compared with 2001. "Production in 2002 from the Laminaria field will be highly dependent on the rate of decline of the Phase 1 and Phase 2 wells. Because of drilling difficulties the company had to redesign the Phase 2 wells as vertical wells rather than as horizontal producers, and that means ultimate oil recoveries will likely be lower than previously planned. Oil production from Laminaria in 2001 averaged 117,500 barrels a day.

Woodside holds a 44.9% stake in Laminaria and is partnered by BHP Billiton Ltd. with 32.6% and Shell with 22.5%. At the adjacent and associated Corallina field, Woodside has a 50% stake, BHP Billiton 25%, and Shell 25%.

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