Gas pioneer Heimdal turns 30

May 30, 2016 14:00 CEST | Last modified June 28, 2016 14:43 CEST
The Heimdal platform
The Heimdal field in the North Sea. (Photo: Øyvind Hagen)

For 30 years the Heimdal field has been an important gas supplier to Europe and, together with Statfjord and Gullfaks, contributed to the establishment of Statpipe.

Its anniversary is being celebrated with, among other things, the publishing of the field's own biography.

The biography has been written by Lars Gaute Jøssang, Professor of History at NLA University College in Bergen.

The Heimdal field has a long and exciting history. It was already in 1971 that the Pan Ocean Group was awarded the production licence for the field in the second licensing round.

The first well was drilled between July and December 1972 and proved to have both gas and condensate reserves.

When it commenced production on 3 December 1985, Heimdal was the largest steel jacket  on the Norwegian continental shelf. Production of gas and condensate proceeded at reasonably steady annual rates in the period from 1986 to 1996. Subsequent declining production led to plans to use Heimdal as an important transit and processing centre for gas from other fields.

Portrait - Lars Gaute Jøssang
Lars Gaute Jøssang

A riser platform, Heimdal Riser, was installed beside the main platform. At the same time, Heimdal was connected to the gas pipeline from the Frigg field to St. Fergus in the United Kingdom, which was given the name Vesterled.

Gas from Huldra, Vale and Byggve/Skirne arrived for processing and export. Grane imported gas through its own pipeline from the riser platform. This resulted in a new era for Heimdal as one of the most important gas hubs on the Norwegian continental shelf.

After 2007 and the merger between Statoil and Hydro’s oil and gas operations, it was discussed whether to shut down Heimdal from 2014, due to declining production.

In October 2010, Statoil submitted a plan for the development and operation of Valemon, and Heimdal was given the job of processing and exporting the gas.

This extended Heimdal’s lifetime by many years. Upgrades of the installation were also ensured and these paved the way for the connection of minor fields in the area. From being on the verge of shutdown, Heimdal was given a new lease of life and a new perspective for the many skilled employees on the field.

Portrait - Nina Birgitte Koch
Nina Birgitte Koch

Heimdal is now primarily a hub for the processing and distribution of gas. The platform receives gas from fields such as Huldra, Oseberg, Skirne and Vale and exports this via the Vesterled and Statpipe pipelines after processing.

“Heimdal has played an important role in Norwegian petroleum history by being an important part of the development and expansion of the Norwegian gas export system. Following its golden age as a producer, a  great deal of work has gone into maximising value creation from Heimdal's infrastructure, which has served as a hub and later as a processing plant for gas from Valemon. The fact that we are now producing from the field with a new well, highlights that Heimdal is constantly entering new phases and still plays a role in the Norwegian petroleum industry," says Nina Birgitte Koch, vice president for operations  for Heimdal.

  • The Heimdal field is a gas field in block 25/4 in the northern part of the North Sea. It is located at the far north-west edge of the Utsira Formation, 250 km west of Rogaland.

  • The reservoir consists of sand from the Heimdal Formation that dates back to the early Tertiary period.

  • Heimdal was discovered in 1972. Development was approved in 1981 and production started in 1986.

  • The original reserves were 44.5 billion standard cubic metres of gas and 7.2 million standard cubic metres of oil.

  • Plateau production was in the period from 1987 to 1996.

  • Heimdal Gas Centre in PL036BS is now a hub for the processing and distribution of gas and consists of an integrated steel platform from 1986 and a riser platform, Heimdal Riser. Gassco is operator of the riser platform.

  • Development of Heimdal Gas Centre was approved in January 1999.

  • In the fourth quarter of 2010, Heimdal was assigned the task of processing gas from Valemon.