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Drilling on Alpha North

August 13, 2003, 16:45 CEST

Drilling began on the first production well on the Statoil-operated Alpha North satellite in the North Sea's Sleipner West field in the early hours of 13 August.

A gas and condensate field, Alpha North is to be developed with three or four wells and a subsea production system.

The Transocean Searcher rig will be performing the drilling, which is expected to take about a year, reports Turid Eikebu Alfsen, head of the Sleipner drilling and well completion department.

"The drilling programme has been well planned and builds on earlier experiences from Sleipner West," says Ms Eikebu Alfsen.

Alfa North will be tied back to the Sleipner T gas treatment platform via an 18-kilometre pipeline. The gas which is rich in carbon dioxide will be passed through the T platform’s separation plant where the carbon dioxide is removed and pumped into the Utsira aquifer via the Sleipner A platform. The gas is then exported to Europe.

Sleipner West is the only field in the world with such a separation plant.

Technically recoverable reserves in Alpha North are put at roughly 13 billion cubic metres of gas and about 32 million barrels of condensate.

The field is due to start producing on 1 October 2004.

Statoil has 49.5 per cent of Alpha North, with ExxonMobil holding 32.24 per cent, Total 9.41 per cent and Norsk Hydro 8.85 per cent.