Talisman Energy and its partners are looking to complete a base development plan for a combined Floating Production, Storage and Offloading (FPSO) and Tension Leg Wellhead Platform (TLWP) project offshore Vietnam by mid-2015, despite the Canadian company being in the midst of a takeover by Spain’s Repsol.

The company’s Ca Rong Do (Red Emperor) project has been on the drawing board for some time, but is now moving into the tendering stage for the preferred FPSO and TLWP development concept.

According to field partner Pan Pacific Petroleum, it is still planned for the base field development plan to be completed by mid-2015. Talisman, Pan Pacific and the others partners – state-owned NOC PetroVietnam and independent Pearl Energy – recently completed the conceptual study which came down in favour of the TLWP linked to an FPSO and an export pipeline. They are now underway with a call to tender for the Front End Engineering and Design (FEED) study on Ca Rong Do, an oil and gas field which sits in Block 07/03 off the south-eastern coast of Vietnam.

Discovered in 2009 in the Nam Con Son Basin, the field lies in 319 m (1,047 ft) of water and was formerly owned by Premier Oil before the latter company sold the licence to Talisman in 2013.

Talisman is planning to invite tenders by the end of March or early April from floating production houses for a leased FPSO with a processing capacity put at between 25,000-30,000 b/d of oil, plus 60 MMcf/d of gas. The vessel should be capable of storing up to 500,000 barrels of oil, and can be moored by either a fixed internal or external turret system. The bidding battle is expected to be fierce with new projects so scarce this year, and most of the usual suspects are expected to express interest, including BW Offshore, Modec, SBM Offshore, Bumi Armada, Emas Offshore, Yinson and Bluewater.

However, although an award has provisionally been pencilled in for the end of the third quarter of this year, if Repsol does as expected become officially involved once its $8.3 billion Talisman acquisition receives all regulatory approvals before mid-year (Talisman’s shareholders have approved it), it will almost certainly want to go over all the numbers and their commercial viability before allowing any final sanction.

The Spanish operator has just announced – despite making a profit in 2014 – that it is cutting its exploration spending this year as its upstream activities barely broke even. Capex in 2015 will fall from US $3.7 billion last year to $2.8 billion this year, with exploration expenditure to be cut by around 35% and 21 wells drilled, as opposed to 34 in 2014.

DI’s sister publication Subsea Engineering News reported last month that Talisman was also due to go out to tender for the TLWP, and that partner PetroVietnam had already agreed to install a 75 km link to an existing gas pipeline system to shore. Steel Catenary Risers are also planned to be used, which SEN says would be the shallowest water depth application of SCR technology anywhere so far.

The TLWP is understood will likely be similar in design and capacity to the twin ‘mini-TLPs’ being used on the producing Hess-operated Okume and Oveng developments in similar water depths offshore Equatorial Guinea. Both were designed, built and commissioned in parallel via an EPC contract by Modec in just 16 months after it was awarded the contract in 2004. Both were fabricated at Samsung’s yard in Singapore, putting both companies in a strong position for the opportunity in Vietnam.

First oil and gas from Ca Rong Do is loosely pencilled in for mid-2018 by Talisman and its partners, with recoverable reserves put at 67 MMboe. Talisman is the operator (55%), with its partners Pearl Energy (25%), PetroVietnam (15%) and Pan Pacific (5%).