Summer start-up for Breagh in North Sea

Offshore staff

CALGARY, Canada – Phase 1 of the Breagh field development in the UK southern North Sea is set for first gas in August, according to partner Sterling Resources.

The Breagh Alpha platform was installed in October. Final platform and pipeline hook-ups were performed with the platform control fiber optic cable pulled onto the platform and pipeline tie-in spools installed between December and January.

The 20-in. (51-cm) offshore export pipeline has been laid and pressure tested to the beach valve station. However, there were cost overruns due mainly to a delayed start and harder than expected trenching conditions which necessitated additional rock-dumping to cover the 3-in. (7.6-cm) methanol pipeline. Near-shore trenching and rock-dumping has been completed, Sterling adds, although environmental approvals are still pending for offshore rock-dumping to cover the methanol line. However, this activity should be completed by April.

At the end of February, the onshore plant was 54% complete and the onshore pipeline 33% complete. Current work includes deviated drilling under the River Tees. By early July laying of the pipeline up to the onshore slug catchers should be completed, at which point gas production should start initially to pack the export pipeline. First gas sales from Breagh are expected in early August.

Operator RWE Dea estimates the final Phase 1 development cost will be $887 million, 17% higher than the original cost estimate of $760 million issued when the field development program was approved in July 2011. Main factors were issues with offshore and onshore pipeline installation and development drilling.

Drilling should start in early April, using the ENSCO 70.  Initially the rig will drill a side track and tieback of two suspended wells, followed by drilling of up to eight further development wells. The final three wells will be highly deviated and may be drilled instead as part of a Phase 2 development.

Sanction for this second phase of the development has been moved to later in 2012.  The partners continue to evaluate development options either from either a second platform (Breagh Bravo) or via subsea wells tied-back to the Breagh Alpha platform.

The evaluation will draw on additional seismic interpretation and reservoir modeling, data from the first production wells and early production history.

Elsewhere in the UK North Sea, newly acquired 3D seismic Geostreamer data are currently being processed over the Sterling-operated blocks 210/29a and 210/30a, containing the Cladhan discovery. Evaluation continues of a field development case for the northern core area, either via a subsea template system tied back to an FPSO or a host 3rd party platform, or via a dedicated FPSO.

In blocks 210/29c and 210/30b to the south, Sterling has contracted the semisub Transocean 704 for an exploration well and hopes to start drilling this month, pending release of the rig from its current operator.  The well will target prospective resources in a separate channel system where data coverage is presently limited.


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