Utgard field on stream

September 17, 2019 09:00 CEST | Last modified September 17, 2019 13:55 CEST

On 16 September, Equinor and its partners started production from the Utgard gas and condensate field, spanning the Norwegian-UK border in the North Sea. The project is delivered without any personal injuries, ahead of schedule and 25% below the cost estimate.

Recoverable Utgard resources are estimated at around 40 million barrels of oil equivalent (boe) and daily production on plateau will be around 43 000 boe.

The field development consists of two wells from a subsea template tied back to the Sleipner field by a pipeline and an umbilical. The template is installed on the Norwegian side of the border, with one well on each side.

The field was discovered in 1982 and a development has been considered several times. In 2016, Equinor acquired the UK share of the discovery to realize the development, which has become a profitable project even with substantially lower oil prices than we see today.

The plan for development and operation and the field development plan were submitted to Norwegian and UK authorities in 2016. At that time the cost estimate was NOK 3.5 billion (fixed NOK), and start-up was scheduled for the end of 2019.

“I am proud of the Utgard project being delivered at NOK 900 million below the cost estimate and ahead of schedule, but first and foremost of the project being delivered without personal injuries,” says Anders Opedal, executive vice president for Technology, Projects and Drilling in Equinor.

Portraits of Arne Sigve Nylund, Anders Opedal and Arne Gürtner
Arne Sigve Nylund (left), Anders Opedal and Arne Gürtner

It is the first time Equinor leads a field development for recovering resources across the border between the Norwegian and UK continental shelves.

“Good and efficient cross-border cooperation with both licence partners and authorities has made the Utgard development possible, and I am pleased that we found solutions ensuring proper resource management on both sides,” says Opedal.

“Through Utgard, we are maximizing economic recovery from the North Sea, and unlocking high value, low carbon intensity barrels in line with our strategy. We will continue to seek cross-border opportunities to add value on both sides of the border,” says Arne Gürtner, senior vice president for UK and Ireland Offshore in Equinor.

Utgard will be remote-operated from the Norwegian Sleipner field, where the well stream will be processed before dry gas is transported to the market through the Gassled pipeline system, and liquids are sent through the existing pipeline to Kårstø for further export to Europe. Utgard will also utilize Sleipner’s facility for CO2 purification and storage.

“By reusing the existing infrastructure, we can, with relatively low investments, realize smaller discoveries that would not otherwise have been profitable enough to develop. At the same time, we are adding valuable volumes to Sleipner,” says Arne Sigve Nylund, executive vice president for Development and Production Norway in Equinor.

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Facts about Utgard

  • Licence owners: Equinor Energy AS (operator) 38.44%, Equinor UK Limited (38%), LOTOS   Exploration & Production Norge AS (17.36%) and KUFPEC Norway AS (6.2%)
  • Water depth: 110 metres, the reservoir is located at a depth of around 3 700 metres
  • After gas processing the liquids are exported to Kårstø and the dry gas to Gassled
  • Capital expenditure: NOK 2.6 billion
  • Expected lifetime: Beyond 2025

EQUINOR IN THE UK

  • Equinor’s UK upstream portfolio includes Mariner, Bressay, Utgard and other cross-border opportunities and more recently, the Rosebank project.
  • Equinor is one of the most active explorers in the UK, with five exploration wells in 2019.
  • Equinor is the largest supplier of crude oil to the UK and the largest supplier of natural gas. Equinor’s gas supplies meet more than 25% of UK demand, enough to heat or power eight million British homes and businesses every year.
  • Equinor’s operated offshore wind farms (Sheringham Shoal, Dudgeon and Hywind Scotland) together supply electricity to 650,000 UK homes. Hywind Scotland is the first floating offshore wind park in the world and is partnered with Batwind, the world’s first battery for offshore wind.
  • Equinor, with its partner SSE, is developing the Dogger Bank offshore wind project which has the potential to provide around 10% of the UK’s total electricity needs. Once fully developed it will be one of the largest offshore wind farms in the world.