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By Maryelle Demongeot
SINGAPORE, Feb 28 (Reuters) - The Philippines’ 17,500 barrels per day (bpd) Galoc oilfield will start commercial production in April, slightly behind plans for a first-quarter launch, an executive with Nido Petroleum Ltd NDO.AX said on Thursday.
The new crude will raise the Philippines’ domestic crude oil output by some 70 percent to up to 42,500 bpd and will provide the first major crude oil addition to the Asia-Pacific region this year.
“Wells are now ready for production services in April 2008,” Jon Pattillo, head of exploration for Australia’s Nido Petroleum, which holds a 22.279 percent in the development, told an industry conference in Singapore.
Two wells, Galoc-3 and Galoc-4, were completed earlier this month. Galoc-4 flowed at 6,150 bpd and Galoc-3 at 5,200 bpd, operator Galoc production company said in statements earlier this month (www.galoc.com).
The light sweet crude, with a 35 American Petroleum Institute (API) gravity will be marketed by European trader Vitol, a partner in the field, said a company official last year.
Around 240,000 bpd of new sweet crude are expected to come onstream in Asia this year, well below oil demand in the region.
Benchmark Malaysian Tapis crude settled at a record-high of $104.00 a barrel on Wednesday, according to Reuters calculations, above over other bellwethers, which also hit records, reflecting the higher quality of Asia-Pacific grades.
Pattillo said the timing for the Galoc field to come on stream could not have been better. “With $100 oil, the timing is perfect,” he told the 13th Asia Upstream Conference.
Pattillo had predicted at the same conference last year that Galoc could come online in the fourth quarter of 2007 and other officials said later in the year the field would start during the first quarter of this year.
Pattillo told Reuters on the sidelines of the conference the timing had slipped from the year-ago plans because of delays in drilling the wells.
The country consumes about 330,000 bpd, which forces it to rely on expensive crude imports.
Other partners in the Galoc field, located in the Northwest Palawan basin, offshore Philippines, include several Philippine companies, Australia’s Otto Energy (OEL.AX) and Vitol. (Editing by Ramthan Hussain)