OFFSHORE EUROPE Jeremy Beckman • London
focus on cost
Statoil has developed a “miniature” subsea
template design to improve horizontal drilling
efficiency in shallow reservoirs, particularly
in high costs areas such as the Barents Sea.
Cap-X, unveiled at the recent Barents Sea conference in Hammerfest, northern Nor way, is
one-quarter of the size of standard templates
and could allow expanded operations from
a vessel as opposed to a rig, thereby reducing drilling/intervention costs. Statoil adds
that the main structure of the technology can
theoretically be produced by a larger number
of suppliers relatively quickly.
The operator’s main undeveloped asset
in the Barents Sea is the Johan Castberg oil
field cluster. Earlier this year the company
said it had managed to reduce the cost of the
planned development from NOK100 billion
($12.33 billion) to NOK50-60 billion ($6.16-
7. 4 billion), largely through reducing the
scope of the offshore infrastructure. According to a recent Reuter’s report, the company
is now looking for a further NOK4-billion
Lundin Norway has set in motion engineering for its first project in the region,
commissioning Aker Solutions to undertake
a study for an FPSO for the Alta and Gohta
oil fields. In addition, the operator has assembled a partnership of EMAS Chiyoda
Subsea, Kanfa, Kvaerner, and Xodus to work
on concept screening, feasibility and subsea/
facilities studies for arctic/sub-arctic area
fields off northern Norway.
Platforms in place
at Culzean, Montrose
Heerema Marine Contractors has installed
the first production structures at two of the
UK’s major new offshore field developments,
both in the central North Sea. Heerema Fabrication Group’s (HFG) yards in Vlissingen
and Hartlepool built respectively the 114-m
(374-ft) tall wellhead platform jacket and access deck for Maersk’s high-pressure/high-temperature Culzean gas/condensate project. According to Patrick Put, HFG manager
for this project, the base of the jacket, held in
place by four pile sleeve clusters, is designed
to be twisted 45° with respect to the tower,
providing easier access to the drilling rig.
The same yards are currently working on the
jackets for Culzean’s central processing and
Last month, Heerema’s crane vessel Thi-
alf connected the HFG Zwijndrecht-built
10,500-metric ton ( 11,574-ton) topsides to the
pre-installed jacket, supplied by OGN, for the
new bridge-linked platform for the Montrose
Area Redevelopment (MAR). The vessel
then connected the facility with the existing
Montrose platform – in service since the late
1970s – via a new 71-m (233-ft) long bridge,
fabricated by Wilton in Teesside, UK.
Operator Repsol Sinopec Resources (for-
merly Talisman Sinopec) commissioned the
new platform to tie in production from the
Cayley and Shaw fields as part of a program
to produce 100 MMboe of extra reserves
from the area, extending the life of the facili-
ties beyond 2030.
In the same sector, Apache has commissioned Subsea 7 and Proserv to provide subsea production pipelines and controls for the
recent Callater discovery, which the operator
plans to tieback to the Beryl Apha platform.
BP, Statoil award field
BP’s Miller oil field in the UK central
North Sea ceased production in 2007 after
15 years’ service, but the platform has remained in place, with Petrofac taking care
of maintenance, valve, and metering needs
over the past four years. Now BP has promoted the contractor to duty holder to manage the facility and to assist evaluation of full
decommissioning, with the topsides set to
be removed during 2017 or 2018.
Various analysts and industry groups have
predicted a surge in UK platform removals
over the next decade, and activity is also starting to pick up in the Nor wegian sector. Statoil
has appointed Heerema Marine Contractors
to remove the Huldra gas-condensate wellhead platform in the North Sea in 2019, with
AF Offshore Decom to manage the disposal
and recycling program the following year at
its base in Vats, Nor way.
Statoil discovered Huldra in 1982 and started
development in 1999, with Aker and Kvaerner
constructing the topsides and jacket, each
weighing around 5,000 tons. From start-up in
late 2001 until shutdown in late 2014, the nor-
mally unmanned facility was controlled from
the Veslefrikk B semisubmersible platform.
Later this year the West Epsilon rig is due to
start permanent well plugging operations - de-
commissioning could continue until 2021.
Repsol, Talisman Energy’s new owner, has
commissioned DeepOcean to remove the subsea facilities at the Varg field in the North Sea,
which started production in 1998 via a wellhead
platform connected to the Petrojarl Varg FPSO.
Operations are due to cease this month, with
the floater set to leave the field in August, followed by the subsea removal campaign.
Oil price puts brake
on Norway drilling
Norway’s undiscovered resources could
sustain the country’s oil and gas production
for several more decades, according to the
Norwegian Petroleum Directorate (NPD).
However this might take a while to prove,
with the total number of exploration well
spuds across the sector set to slump from 56
last year to around 30 this year.
Almost half of the projected 3 bcmoe of
oil and gas yet to be found is thought to lie
under the Barents Sea, with the remainder
split between the Norwegian Sea and the
North Sea. NPD is hopeful that some of
the future discoveries can enter production
from around 2025 onwards.
Despite this year’s downturn, NPD pointed
out that 53 companies had interests across the
shelf at the end of 2015, close to double the
total in 2000, and most are active in the exploration phase. New players, it added, typically
bring in ideas for new play concepts, contributing toward a higher discovery rate. •
The Thialf mating the topsides
to the jacket of the Montrose
(Photo courtesy Repsol