DRILLING has started at the INPEX-operated Ichthys gas condensate field as part of the broader Ichthys LNG project

The first development well was spudded on 3 February, 2015 by the Project’s development drilling rig ENSCO-5006, which recently arrived at the Field after undergoing major upgrades in Singapore.

Ichthys LNG project managing director Louis Bon said the start of a development drilling program came after years of intensive optimisation studies and detailed planning.

“This campaign will target the Brewster reservoir with 20 production wells,” he said.

“The wells will be drilled into reservoirs about 4,000 to 4,500 metres beneath the seabed.”

The project will use directional drilling technology and the wells will be grouped around five drill centres, each designed to accommodate between four and six wells.

The ENSCO-5006 will be joined at a later date by Transocean’s semisubmersible drilling rig, Jack Bates. Both rigs will be supported with aviation and marine services, as well as bulk goods supplies, from a dedicated offshore logistics base in Broome, Western Australia.

INPEX said the next Ichthys LNG Project milestone would be the start of the deepwater pipelay for the Project’s 889 kilometre-long gas export pipeline, which it said was scheduled to commence in coming weeks.