Production at Maharaja Lela oil, gas field to stop for a month

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PRODUCTION at the Maharaja Lela oil and gas field will have to cease for about a month in September as the new drilling platform for the Maharaja Lela South expansion project is connected to an existing pipeline.

The installation of the MLJ-3 drilling platform is expected to start next month, said Yves Grosjean, general manager of Total E&P.

“We have a special piece that will need to be installed, and in order to do that, we will have to stop production to do all the work to connect this piece with the pipeline at sea that runs from the MLJ-1 platform to Lumut.”

Grosjean said this is the reason why gas production has to stop for one month.

The MLJ-3 platform will be connected by a 10-kilometre pipeline currently being laid out at sea to an existing 85km pipeline. The jacket of the platform was fabricated and loaded recently in Brunei, while the topside is constructed in Vietnam.

Grosjean said the jacket will be installed in early August. Piles will be driven into the sea floor, some 100 to 120 metres deep in order to secure the jacket.

The topside will then be installed by mid-August. Total will then do connection work with the 10km sea line.

“This sealine will have to be connected to the platform on one end and then it will be connected to the existing pipeline,” he said.

After the connection work has been done, Total will welcome the drilling rig which was expected to arrive in early January. Once that has been set up, they will expect the first well into the new reservoir to be completed in June or July 2016.

The Maharaja Lela deepwater exploration contributed an estimated 15 per cent of the national gas output in 2014.

The Maharaja Lela South project, which consists of a new drilling platform and upgrades to an onshore processing platform, is expected to increase production by 20 per cent as well as extend the life of the field beyond 2035.

The Brunei Times