Take Advantage of your
David Paganie • Houston
Positive signs in Northwest Europe
While the UK North Sea still commands the greatest percentage share of offshore
investment in Northwest Europe, other areas in the region are drawing increasing interest. The Barents Sea, in particular, is attracting new participants on the heels of Statoil’s
drilling success on Skrugard. At its 22nd Licensing Round, the Norwegian government
issued 20 new licenses in the Barents Sea and four in the Norwegian Sea to a total of
29 companies. Indeed a strong showing, new operators in the Barents Sea include Centrica, ConocoPhillips, Edison, GDF Suez, RWE Dea, Lukoil, Rosneft, and Shell, while
Det norske Oljeselskap, Eni, Lundin, Repsol, and Total expanded their interests in the
Meanwhile, frontier seekers are gathering in the west coast of Ireland to test the
emerging oil and gas play in the deepwater Porcupine basin. ExxonMobil has tested
it frst with the Dunquin North exploration well in 1,700 m ( 5,577 ft) of water. The well
results indicate a working petroleum system in the basin and likely will spur greater
interest in the area, according to partner Providence Resources.
The positive signs in the region are further illustrated by recent drilling activity. During the second quarter of this year, a total of 35 exploration and appraisal wells were
drilled offshore Northwest Europe, up 40% from the frst quarter, according to a recent
survey by Deloitte Petroleum Services Group. Of those wells, 30 were drilled offshore
UK and Norway. Farm-in deals to assist with drilling and development are increasing
as well. Across Northwest Europe, farm-ins accounted for 70% of all reported deals in
the region, according to the survey. Development activity, too, has remained strong in
recent months, with six felds granted development approval and four coming onstream
offshore the UK and Norway.
West of Shetland
Some large-scale projects are underway throughout the UK North Sea, reminiscent
of the early days in the 1970s. None, though, are as coordinated and wide-ranging in
scope as BP’s programs on its felds in the far-north Shetland area, writes Jeremy Beckman, Offshore Editor – Europe. These vary from comprehensive overhauls of facilities
West of Shetland to a life extension of Magnus in the east, one of Britain’s longest-producing felds. Beckman’s regional analysis begins on page 32.
Norway’s parliament (Storting) has approved a major new subsea pipeline to export
gas from felds in the Nor wegian Sea. The Polarled system calls for investments of NOK
25 billion ($4.2 billion), according to Nick Terdre, Offshore Contributing Editor. Although Norway has an extensive subsea pipeline network of nearly 8,000 km ( 4,971
mi) for delivering gas to northern Europe and the UK, only two lines currently connect
Norwegian Sea felds off mid-Norway to the transportation network in the North Sea.
Terdre’s complete report begins on page 40.
UK North Sea
Apache Corp. has installed and commissioned the Forties Alpha Satellite Platform
(FASP), the latest infrastructure addition at the venerable Forties feld, says Russell
McCulley, Offshore Senior Technical Editor. The new structure, linked to the existing
Forties Alpha platform by a 90-m (295-ft) bridge, includes a four-pile jacket and deck,
weighing a total 17,000 tons, in water depths of about 110 m (360 ft). The FASP adds 18
new well slots to accommodate new drilling to begin this year. McCulley’s full report
begins on page 44.
To respond to articles in Offshore, or to offer articles for publication,
contact the editor by email ( email@example.com).