S. Africa's Mossgas starts offshore drilling

Jan 27, 1997 01:00 AM

South Africa's state-owned Mossgas corporation has begun a 910 million rand offshore drilling programme to extend the life of its fuel-from-gas project to 2001. The company said the Ocean Liberator, owned by Diamond Offshore of Texas, US, began work on the first of four wells expected to cost a total 570 million rand to develop. The rig will drill one new well and reopen three test wells in the FAH and FAR satellite fields within 16 km of the existing production platform anchored 85 km south of Mossel Bay. "Gas from the first two wells is expected by May 1997," Mossgas said. Production from the original field, currently expected to run out of pressure around July, will be cut back to 40 % of current levels and the new wells will fill the gap. Mossgas said design work had started to produce a compression plant likely to be installed in March next year to renew production from the parent field. The compression project is expected to cost 340 million rand and Mossgas estimates the new wells and thecompressor will generate a net operating surplus of over three billion rand by 2001. The Mossgas project was launched under apartheid as part of a programme to protect South Africa from Western sanctions. South Africa has tried and failed to find a foreign buyer to take over the project, including its shore-based conversion plant.

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