September 12, 2012 / 8:07 AM / 7 years ago

Malaysia starts pumping oil at Gumusut field - sources

* Gumusut crude output to reach 25,000 bpd by end 2012

* To blend Gumusut crude with Kikeh for sale until export terminal ready

* Gumusut output to hit full 135,000 bpd in 2013-2014 on construction delay

By Florence Tan

SINGAPORE, Sept 12 (Reuters) - Malaysia has started pumping oil from the Gumusut deepwater oilfield offshore Sabah, with an initial output of 10,000 barrels per day (bpd), sources familiar with the matter said on Wednesday.

Gumusut, operated by Royal Dutch Shell and discovered in March 2004, is expected help Malaysia reverse its declining output and boost the country’s oil revenue, but its start up has been dogged by construction delays.

Crude output at Gumusut, located off the eastern state of Sabah in Block J, is expected to reach 25,000 bpd by the end of this year, said the sources, who declined to be identified due to company policy on speaking to the media.

Gumusut will be blended with Kikeh for sale in Asia as its output is currently tied to Kikeh’s production platform in neighbouring Block K, they said.

This could change Kikeh’s crude quality, one source said. Murphy Oil operates the 120,000 bpd Kikeh field.

Gumusut production will reach the full 135,000 bpd in 2013-2014, put back from 2011, as construction of the floating production facility for the field has taken longer than expected.

Crude exports directly from the Gumusut field will also depend on when the new terminal at Kimanis, Sabah, is completed, the sources said.

Shell and ConocoPhillips each has a 33 percent stake in the project. Petronas holds 20 percent and Murphy Oil 14 percent. Shell and Petronas did not reply to e-mails seeking comment.

Malaysia’s crude output slipped in 2011 to below 600,000 bpd for the first time in at least 10 years, data from the BP Statistical Review of World Energy showed. To arrest the decline, Malaysia is embarking on projects that will coax more oil out of matured fields.

Shell signed an agreement with Petronas in November that could add 90,000 to 100,000 bpd of oil production and extend the life of the Baram Delta and North Sabah fields to beyond 2040.

Exxon Mobil is working with Petronas to improve oil recovery at Malaysia’s flagship Tapis field, where output has fallen by more than half from its peak in the 1990s, in addition to new exploration and development projects.

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