Italian major Eni is gearing up to develop the Merakes gas field offshore Indonesia in the East Sepinggan Block with a six-well drilling campaign.

“East Sepinggan drilling is scheduled for March 2019,” said Wisnu Prabawa Taher, a spokesman for SKK Migas, Indonesia’s upstream regulator.

The operator has identified the sites to drill six wells as part of a plan to develop the Merakes Field as a tie-in to the existing floating production unit (FPU) in the neighboring Jangkrik Field in the Muara Bakau concession.

The Merakes development plan, approved by the energy and mineral resources ministry at an estimated cost of about $1.1 billion, includes construction of umbilical system, control system, infield flexibles and manifolds, and laying subsea pipelines of about 50 km (31 miles) tied in to the existing Jangkrik FPU.

Produced gas will be shipped from the Jangkrik FPU to the Bontang LNG processing facility in East Kalimantan through an existing 72-km (44.7-mile) subsea pipeline.

The six development wells are scheduled to begin production in second-half 2020 and are expected to pump about 150 MMscf/d.

The new wells will target hydrocarbon reserves located in the Pliocene and other sediments in the field, which are estimated to contain in place reserves of 57 Bcm (2 Tcf) with potential for more. Merakes-1, the first exploration well, was drilled to a total depth of 2,640 m (8,661 ft) in a water depth of 1,372 m (4,502 ft) and encountered a hydrocarbon column of 60 m (196.8 ft) in high-quality sandstones in the lower Pliocene clastic sequence.

The appraisal well Merakes-2, drilled to a depth of 2,732 m (8,963 ft) in 1,269 m (4,163 ft) of water depth and encountered 17 m (55.7 ft) of clean sands with very good petrophysical characteristics of Pliocene age.

The Merakes Field is located in the northern part of central East Sepinggan PSC in water depth of 500 m (1,640 ft) in the Kutei Basin, 170 km (105 miles) south of the Bontang LNG Plant and 35 km (21.7 mi) from the offshore Jangkrik Field, also operated by Eni.

Sharing benefits

The operator is looking to utilize existing offshore production facilities developed for the nearby Jankrik Field to reduce costs and time needed to develop the field. The Jangkrik FPU is a barge-type spread moored unit with a capacity that could be expanded to 800 MMscf/d.

“It [Merakes] provides the opportunity for the Jangkrik floating production unit to become a hub for the development of our nearby gas discovery Merakes. ... We will consolidate our near-field exploration strategy and operating model and maximize the integrated development of our projects also in Indonesia,” Eni CEO Claudio Descalzi said earlier.

The Italian company in 2017 developed the Jangkrik and Jangkrik North East fields in Muara Bakau PSC, located in water depths between 200 m and 500 m (656 ft and 1,640 ft), with 10 wells, an FPU and a 72-km (44.7-mile) subsea pipeline to an onshore terminal at East Kalimantan. It currently produces about 600 MMscf/d of gas, which supplies the local market and the Bontong LNG plant, which exports liquid gas to the countries such as Japan, South Korea and Taiwan.

The Jangkrik gas fields, located in a water depth about 500 m (1,640 ft), are estimated to contain total proven reserves of more than 37 Bcm (1.3 Tcf).

Future plan

Eni also has hinted at developing oil and gas prospects in the future in another nearby concession called East Ganal PSC as tie-ins to the Jangrik FPU. Initial geophysical studies have indicated the presence of a viable hydrocarbon system.

The development plan for East Ganal, however, will be known after the assessment of hydrocarbon systems in prospective areas.

“This [East Ganal] award expands Eni’s position and upstream activities in the East Kalimantan’s Kutei Basin, which is one of the most promising hydrocarbon provinces in Indonesia,” Eni said after being awarded the concession in May.

The operator secured the rights to explore East Ganal during competitive bidding with a commitment to pay a $1.5 million signature bonus and invest at least $35.5 million during the exploration stage.

Eni is the operator of the East Sepinggan, Muara Bakau and East Ganal production-sharing contracts, holding participating interests of 85%, 55% and 100%, respectively.

This article originally appeared in Hart Energy’s Subsea Engineering News.