The Gullfaks South satellite field in the North Sea was brought on stream by operator Statoil on 18 March.

March 22, 1999, 08:00 CET

The Gullfaks South satellite field in the North Sea was brought on stream by operator Statoil on 18 March.

First oil from the 34/10-D-4H subsea well, which is producing from the Brent reservoir, arrived on Gullfaks A the following morning.

"Developing Gullfaks South has been a major challenge," says Tor Willgohs Knudsen, head of the subsea operations department in the Bergen operations unit.

"This is the first time we've used flowline bundles which incorporate a hotwater pipe to keep the wellstream warm."

The two flowline bundles produced for Gullfaks South are connected together to give an overall length of 10 kilometres.

They contain three lines for production and one each for injection gas and hot water. In addition come control cables for the four subsea templates on the field.

Heating the wellstream is necessary to keep the viscous, waxy oil from solidifying or hydrate (hydrocarbon ice) forming in the event of a production shutdown.

Bringing Gullfaks South on stream means that all three Gullfaks satellites are now producing. The two others - Gullveig and Rimfaks - began production on 10 October and 7 February respectively.

"It's gratifying that output has been stable from both Gullveig and Rimfaks since they started up," says Mr Willgohs Knudsen.

These two fields currently produce 22.000 barrels of oil per day between them. Gullfaks South is expected to flow 12,500 daily barrels.