North Sea Greater Stella Area floater set for sea trials

Offshore staff

CALGARY, CanadaIthaca Energy expects first production this September from its Greater Stella Area (GSA) project in the UK central North Sea.

The modified floating production semisubmersible FPF-1 is expected to leave the Remontowa shipyard in Poland next month.

Currently the vessel is undergoing final commissioning operations and close out of the marine work to ensure it complies with sail-away certification standards.

The next main event will be the completion of deepwater trials prior to the start of the tow to the North Sea. This involves moving the FPF-1 to a location off the coast of Gdansk in order to perform marine system commissioning tests that cannot be conducted in the shallow waters of the shipyard.

On arrival at the field the vessel will be moored using 12 pre-installed anchor chains, followed by connection of the dynamic risers and umbilicals that link the subsea infrastructure to the vessel.

Thereafter, commissioning of the various processing and utility systems will be completed. 

Once the Stella field is onstream, Ithaca expects a swift ramp-up of production (five wells have been drilled).

During the current quarter, the company’s overall North Sea production should be boosted by increased volumes from the Shell-operated Pierce field, offsetting reductions from the Dons and Causeway Area fields due to a planned two-week shutdown of the Brent pipeline system next month.

Recently Ithaca assumed operatorship of the Cook field following Shell and ExxonMobil’s sale of the host Anasuria FPSO.

Ithaca forecasts planned capex in 2016 of $50 million including activities to prepare the development plan for the Vorlich field (a probable tieback to the GSA infrastructure) for approval.


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