The discovery of the giant Johan Sverdrup field in the North Sea in 2010—2011 will endure as a milestone in the history of the Norwegian oil industry. It was a discovery that many people had been hoping for, and it opened a new and exciting chapter in our adventure.
Following many years of relatively minor discoveries counting millions of barrels, the experts were finally able to dust off the oil terminology of the 70s and 80s and celebrate a truly elephantine discovery: Johan Sverdrup numbered barrels by the billion.
In fact, the first exploration well at Johan Sverdrup was drilled way back in 1967, and was only the second exploration well ever on the NCS, located just 160 kilometres west of Stavanger.
Decades after the discovery of fields such as Statfjord and Gullfaks, the ranks of the giants can be augmented by Johan Sverdrup, one of the largest discoveries ever. At peak production this single field will account for roughly 30% of total oil production on the NCS, with a production lifespan stretching well beyond the year 2050.
When production is at its maximum level, 660,000 barrels will be recovered per day. Total recoverable resources are estimated at 2.7 billion barrels of oil equivalent and our ambition is to recover above 70% of the reserves.
Due to the sheer scale of Johan Sverdrup — the area of the field is some 200 square kilometres — it will be developed in two phases involving a total of five fixed platform installations.
The first phase of the field centre spans 700 metres and include an accommodation platform with 450 cabins and 560 beds, a processing platform, a drilling platform and a riser platform, all linked by bridges. The platforms are supported on steel jackets standing in approximately 110 metres of water.
In the first phase, total capacity is estimated at 440,000 barrels per day. We expect to drill more than 30 production and injection wells in the first phase, and eight wells have been pre-drilled so as to speed up production after start-up.
Total first-phase investments will amount to NOK 83 billion, (capex numbers in nominal terms based on fixed currency). These include a field centre consisting of four platforms, wells, export solutions for oil and gas, plus power supply.
In the second phase of the project the field centre will be extended with the addition of a second processing platform, supported by a steel jacket, and a connecting bridge. In total the field centre will span approximately a full kilometer from one end to the other.
The second phase will also include modifications of the riser platform and the field centre, five subsea templates, in addition to power from shore to the Utsira High. Expected startup of phase two is in Q4 2022 and will boost production capacity of the field to 660,000 barrels of oil per day. Total investments for phase two are estimated at NOK 41 billion.
The partners have chosen land-based power supply for the Johan Sverdrup field, which will reduce total climate gas emissions by 80% to 90%, when compared with a standard development procedure involving gas turbines on the NCS. In addition, energy efficient solutions are being given priority in order to reduce total energy consumption.
Oil for export from Johan Sverdrup will be transported via pipeline to the Mongstad terminal in Hordaland. Gas will be transported through a new gas pipeline via Statpipe to Kårstø in Rogaland for processing and onward transport.