Equinor Starts Up North Sea Oil, Gas Project

Equinor ASA has commenced production at the Statfjord Ost field in the North Sea, with expectations of boosting its output by 26 million barrels of oil equivalent. The majority state-owned company announced in a press release that the project was completed successfully, highlighting its commitment to safety and delivering within estimated costs, despite inflation and a weakened Norwegian krone. Equinor also revealed that two new wells have been drilled from existing subsea templates, with plans for three additional wells in the future.

The development of Statfjord Ost, which was first put onstream in 1994, involves the linking of a new pipeline from Statfjord C to existing subsea templates. This completion, six months ahead of schedule, will increase the oil recovery rate to 63 percent from 58 percent, according to Equinor. The government website Norskpetroleum.no further states that resource recovery in Statfjord Ost now utilizes pressure depletion due to the depressurization of the main Statfjord field. There is potential for additional wells and projects for Statfjord Ost if the lifetime of the Statfjord C facility is extended.

According to a factsheet on Norskpetroleum.no, Statfjord Ost produces oil from Middle Jurassic sandstone in the Brent Group, with the reservoir at a depth of 2,400 meters. The well stream is transported in two pipelines to the Statfjord C facility for processing, storage, and export. The oil is loaded onto tankers, while the gas is exported through the Tampen Link and the Far North Liquids and Gas System pipeline to the UK.

Equinor officials praised the completion of the Statfjord Ost life extension project, emphasizing its value maximization. Camilla Salthe, Equinor senior vice-president for field life extension, highlighted the importance of extending the life of mature fields and maximizing value creation from existing infrastructure on the Norwegian continental shelf. Salthe added that the project will contribute to extending the life of Statfjord C until 2040 and generate around NOK 20 billion ($1.9 billion) in increased production value at the current oil price. She also mentioned the positive effects for Norwegian suppliers resulting from this resource utilization.

Statfjord Ost is part of the broader Statfjord area, which includes the Barnacle, Statfjord Nord, and Sygna fields. Equinor operates all the Statfjord fields, while other developers for Statfjord Ost include Norwegian state-owned Petoro AS, Var Energi ASA, INPEX Idemitsu Norge AS, and Wintershall Dea Norge AS. Equinor had sold a 28 percent stake in the Statfjord area to Okea ASA for $20.6 million (NOK 220 million) plus a three-year contingent payment, aiming to optimize its oil and gas portfolio. The company remains optimistic about the Statfjord area and intends to extend the field’s lifetime until 2040 while reducing emissions by 50 percent by 2030.

Ketil Rongved, Equinor’s vice-president for field life extension, expressed the company’s ambition to be a leading operator of late-life fields on the Norwegian continental shelf. Rongved stressed the need for finding new ways to reduce costs while maintaining high quality, which Equinor has achieved through the collaborative efforts of its partners. The project was agreed upon in 2020 and received approval from the Petroleum and Energy Ministry in 2021.

To contact the author, email jov.onsat@rigzone.com

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