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Malikai is Shell’s second deep-water project in Malaysia. It features the country’s first tension leg platform, a floating oil production facility moored to the seabed 500 metres underwater. Located 100 kilometres off the west coast of Sabah, its average annual peak production of 60,000 bbl/d contributes significantly to the country’s oil production capability.
Location: 100 kilometres off Sabah, Malaysia
Water depth: Around 500 metres (1,640 feet)Key contractors: Technip-MMHE JV, IEV/Heerema, Technip Marine, UMW/Dril-Quip
Reservoir: Kinarut and Kamunsu-2
Average peak annual production: 60,000 bbl/d
Malikai is Shell’s second deep-water project in Malaysia. It follows Gumusut-Kakap, which started production successfully in 2014.
The Malikai oil field lies around 100 kilometres (60 miles) off Sabah, Malaysia, in waters about 500 metres (1,640 feet) deep. It comprises two main reservoirs with a peak annual production of 60,000 barrels per day (bbl/d). The field is part of the Block G Production Sharing Contract awarded by Petronas in 1995. Shell, the operator, and ConocoPhillips each hold a 35% interest in the development, while Petronas Carigali has 30%.
Featuring the company’s first tension leg platform (TLP) in the country, Malikai is an example of the strength of Shell’s global deep water business, applying TLP expertise from decades of operations in the US Gulf of Mexico.
The platform, which floats on the surface of the sea while moored securely to the sea floor, produces and pipes oil 50km (around 30 miles) to the shallow-water Kebabangan platform for processing.
A small amount of natural gas produced from the field powers the TLP and is pumped into the production tubing to help oil flow from the reservoir (“gas lift”). Any extra gas is sent out via the Kebabangan platform.
During the top-hole drilling, the project team installed a system, provided by IKM Group, which removes drilling fluids (“mud”) at the well openings. The system prevents the discharge of drilling fluid, reducing environmental impact, and is designed for use with high-performance drilling fluids able to increase efficiency.
The main drilling campaign was conducted from aboard the platform using a separate tender-assisted drilling unit. This lowered costs and removed the need for a heavier platform rig.
The team behind Malikai have also been able to reuse eight giant tendon support buoys first deployed on the Mars B project in the Gulf of Mexico. The buoys temporarily hold the ends of mooring tendons, or tethers, in place until they can be connected to the platform during installation. This reuse of support buoys from a previous project demonstrates how Shell replicates its approach across regions, while using standardised equipment, to boost efficiency.
The Malikai platform uses a special kind of pipe, or riser, for both drilling and production, each with a single lining. A system onboard holds the multi-use risers in place overhead. This innovative approach eliminates the cost of using two traditional sets of risers while cutting the number of steps needed to drill a well.
In July 2015, the project team successfully jacked up the topsides and moved – or skidded – them onto the platform legs in the fabrication yard at Pasir Gudang. The “superlift” was the world’s highest jacking and skidding operation for a platform of its scale, reaching a height of 40 metres.