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Kvitebjørn officially inaugurated

November 12, 2004, 08:00 CET

Local government and regional development minister Erna Solberg officially inaugurated Statoil’s Kvitebjørn development in the Norwegian North Sea today, 12 November.

Incorporating a number of good environmental solutions, this project was developed on schedule and to budget. Production of gas and condensate began on 26 September.

Kvitebjørn comprises a fully-integrated fixed steel platform standing in 190 metres of water, with drilling and process facilities as well as living quarters.

The reservoir, 4,000 metres beneath the seabed, has record-high pressure and temperature for a Norwegian development of 780 bar and 150°C respectively.

“These demanding conditions, with extreme natural forces, have called for new technology and expertise,” says Terje Overvik, executive vice president for Exploration & Production Norway.

“So it’s gratifying that the platform has largely been built by Norwegian contractors.”

The overall cost of the development has been roughly NOK 10 billion.

Kvitebjørn is being operated without harmful discharges to the sea and with record-low emissions of carbon dioxide.

Produced water is returned below ground with the aid of reservoir pressure, while drilling mud, oily sand and drill cuttings are pumped beneath the seabed.

Energy from the reservoir helps to drive gas through a pipeline to land, while wellstream heat is used to process condensate.

This has eliminated the need to install a separate heat medium in the platform’s process section.

Exploiting the high reservoir pressure saves energy and thereby reduces carbon dioxide emissions to an estimated level of roughly 15 kilograms per tonne of oil equivalent.

This compares with a global average of more than 100 kilograms per tonne for the oil and gas industry.

Applying high material standards on the platform also enhances safety, cuts maintenance requirements and gives an environmental gain by reducing the need for anti-corrosion chemicals.

Kvitebjørn is due to deliver about 20 million cubic metres of gas and roughly 62,000 barrels (10,000 cubic metres) of condensate per day at plateau.

The field also strengthens the Kollsnes-Mongstad value chain in western Norway in that natural gas liquids are removed from the gas in a new facility at the Kollsnes processing plant.

This part of Kvitebjørn’s output is then piped to Statoil’s Mongstad refinery complex further north for fractionation.