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Southwest Ampa exploration history

First drilling in the Ampa area dates back to 1956 when a fixed platform was constructed on the coral reef of Ampa Patches (Figure 5.36). There were many technical problems with this first offshore exploration well, such as swelling clays that caused the drillpipe to get stuck in the hole. The well failed to find any hydrocarbons. Offshore drilling was suspended because of the very high drilling costs of this well. The discovery well of the Southwest Ampa field (SWA-1) was drilled by the mobile marine drilling rig Sidewinder in 1963. SWA-1 was the first well drilled by this rig, that had just arrived to replace the Orient Explorer. Sidewinder represented the state of the art in terms of offshore drilling, designed to operate in water depths of up to 180 metres (Orient Explorer was limited to depths shallower than 35 metres). SWA-1 was also the first well in Brunei Darussalam drilled with a diamond bit, which proved substantially faster than conventional bits.

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