15 January 2008
BHP Billiton today announced that its operated Stybarrow project offshore northwest has achieved sustained production levels at planned capacity. It was brought on stream in November approximately two months ahead of schedule.
Stybarrow has been producing consistently at design capacity of 80,000 barrels a day. One well has been operating at near record-setting rates for West Australia, producing approximately 32,000 barrels of oil per day. To date, in less than two months of operation, Stybarrow has offloaded a total of 2.5 million barrels of oil.
The achievement is based in part on the use of advanced real time monitoring technology delivering high standards of control and management of the flow from individual wells.
Downhole and subsea tree pressure and temperature gauges allow engineers to manage the drawdown to maximize production and ensure prudent management of the reservoir. The sophisticated monitoring equipment has also improved the operating efficiency of the FPSO topsides facilities.
The Stybarrow project involves a nine well subsea development and a Floating Production Storage and Offtake (FPSO) facility, the Stybarrow Venture.
BHP Billiton's J. Michael Yeager, Chief Executive Petroleum, said the outstanding results from Stybarrow's initial operations reflected high standards of professionalism and technology application.
"BHP Billiton's Stybarrow development is exceeding expectations. The wells have ramped up to full capacity in record time and the processing capability on the vessel has been highly reliable," he said. "We are very pleased with the overall performance."
At a water depth of approximately 825 metres, the development is located in production licence block number WA-32-L in the Exmouth Sub-basin, approximately 65 kilometres from Exmouth.
Project costs for Stybarrow are approximately US$760 million, of which BHP Billiton's share is 50% (approximately US$380 million).
Discovered in 2003, the Stybarrow and nearby Eskdale fields have estimated recoverable oil reserves of 60-90 million barrels. The estimated economic field life is 10 years.
The joint venture partners are BHP Billiton (50% and Operator) and Woodside Energy Limited (50%).