Statoil on track with Mariner field development project
The Mariner heavy oil field was discovered in 1981. Statoil entered the license as operator in 2007 with the aim of finally unlocking the resources.
The company and its partners took the final investment decision in December 2012 and the UK government's Department of Energy and Climate Change announced their approval of the field development plan in February 2013.
"This is the largest new offshore field development in the UK in over a decade. It has been 30 years in the making, and now we are on track developing the field and preparing for 30 years of production," says Lars Christian Bacher, Statoil's executive vice president for Development and Production International.
Lars Christian Bacher, Statoil's executive vice president for Development and Production International. (DPI).
Statoil expects to start production from Mariner in 2017. The average production is estimated at around 55,000 barrels of oil per day over the plateau period from 2017 to 2020.
Expected recoverable oil volumes are estimated to more than 250 million barrels.
Statoil has started the build-up of its local organisation in Aberdeen and is planning to have a new operations centre in place by 2016.
"The project will lead to substantial job creation in the region with more than 700 long-term, full-time positions," Bacher says.
Statoil aims to recruit most of these positions locally, and is now launching a branding campaign in Aberdeen to support recruitment efforts.
"We started the year with one employee in Aberdeen and expect to have a 75-person strong organisation by year end," Bacher says.
Statoil has utilised its extensive heavy oil experience from Norway, Brazil and Canada in its efforts to find a viable development solution for the Mariner heavy oil field.
The field will be developed with a production, drilling and quarters platform based on a steel jacket with 50 active well slots, and a floating storage unit of 850,000 barrels capacity. In addition a jack-up drilling rig will be used to assist the drilling for the first four to five years.
The UK and global supplier industry will play a central role in the development of the Mariner project. The majority of facility contracts have been awarded, in addition to the contracts for drilling from the fixed platform and the jack-up rig.
Contracts within operations and maintenance, drilling and well services, and business support will be tendered from 2013 to 2016.
The majority of suppliers within these areas will be based in the UK, generating many long-term, UK-based jobs with contractors. Statoil has established an Aberdeen procurement organisation, and is actively informing UK suppliers of its plans and activities.
Following the award of the major facilities contracts Statoil is currently ramping up activities at the construction yards. Offshore installation of the platform jacket is scheduled for mid-2015, followed by topsides during 2016.
Statoil is also the operator for the Bressay heavy oil field on the UK continental shelf where expected recoverable oil volume is 200-300 million barrels.
"We have chosen a stepwise approach starting with Mariner to ensure experience transfer and learning before we move forward with Bressay. The Bressay field's reservoir characteristics make it even more challenging than Mariner. Our focus is now on making the required preparations for project decision and execution, including necessary preparations for authority approval," says Bacher.
Statoil and its partners have selected a development concept with clear similarities to the Mariner project, but with some differences due to subsurface characteristics. The Mariner contracts include options for Bressay, and execution planning is in progress.