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Santos today announced first oil from the Van Gogh Phase 2 Infill Development, with the first of three new production wells producing at the highest initial rate from an individual well in field history.

Following completion and tie-in, the first well has produced at a peak rate of 23,200 barrels per day (bbl/d), well ahead of expectations for a single well.

First oil from the project comes 16 months after it achieved a Final Investment Decision, with the drilling of the second horizontal, dual-lateral production well now underway.

The Van Gogh field (WA-35-L) is one of three subsea oil field developments located in the Exmouth Basin which tie into the Floating Production, Storage and Offloading vessel (FPSO), the Ningaloo Vision.

Santos Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer Kevin Gallagher said, “The team has done a great job delivering first oil so quickly, accessing additional reserves and lowering unit production costs.

“We have seen an excellent reservoir outcome from this first well with a larger oil column than expected and a total horizontal section of 5,430 metres, which is 490 metres more than originally planned.

“I am particularly pleased that this is a great example of Santos creating value from assets we acquired, through an opportunity that was not valued at the time of the acquisition.

“This is also the highest peak production seen from a single well in the Van Gogh field and exceeded our pre-drill expectations.

“The Van Gogh crude oil is also a highly sought-after product, and the premium to Brent that we get allows further value to be realised beyond the current oil price.”

The Valaris MS1 mobile offshore drilling unit will complete the remaining two wells over the next few months, with start-up expected before the end of the year.

Production from Van Gogh began in 2010, with the nearby Coniston and Novara fields tied back to the FPSO in 2015 and 2016, respectively.

Santos has a 52.5% interest in the Van Gogh-Coniston-Novara project, which it operates. The remaining interest is owned by INPEX.