STAVANGER, Norway – Statoil has begun to install new loading buoys in the Gullaks field – one of several projects intended to extend Gullfaks’ life toward 2040.
Due on line in June, the towing of the first loading buoy has started. The second old loading buoy will be removed in August, and the replacement buoy is scheduled to come on line in mid-September. The two existing loading buoys have been loading oil from Gullfaks since 1986, and it is estimated that 2.55 Bboe from the Gullfaks field have passed through the existing loading buoys.
“This is an important value enhancement project for the Gullfaks field,” said Øystein Arvid Håland, asset manager, Development and Production Norway, Statoil. “Gullfaks needs to have reliable loading systems for crude oil export in the future. The two existing loading systems and loading buoys installed in 1986 and 1987 are approaching the expected design life of 30 years.”
New loading buoys will reduce the need for logistics and helicopter transportation in connection with maintenance, said Statoil. Coordination and synergies with the Statfjord field related to operations, maintenance, and spares will be facilitated.
The loading system is of the same type as that installed at Statfjord and is simpler than the existing Gullfaks system with the same oil loading capacity.
The existing 6,000-metric-ton (6,614-ton) loading buoys will be towed to Stord for demolition at Scanmet AS. The aim here is a 98% level of material reuse.
Located in 136 m (446 ft) of water, the loading buoys are situated 2.4 km (1.5 mi) northwest and 2.4 km (1.5 mi) southeast of Gullfaks A.