ONS 2016: Wintershall closes in on Skarfjell solution

Offshore staff

STAVANGER, NorwayWintershall and its partners plan to select a concept by year-end for the Skarfjell oil and gas development in the Norwegian North Sea.

This will be the company’s next operated greenfield project offshore Norway after the current Maria field development, said Europe E&P director Martina Bachmann at ONS last week.

According to Wintershall Norge’s managing director Bernd Shrimpf, the two concepts under review both call for a tie-in to the Gjøa field center, where the company is a partner to operator ENGIE.

One is a direct subsea link to the Gjøa platform; the other option is to re-use an existing FPSO for the tie-in. Discussions have been intensive because the field extends across two licenses with a total of seven licensees.

Production from Skarfjell could start in 2021.

In the northern part of the Norwegian Sea, Wintershall is the second-biggest licensee in Statoil’s Aasta Hansteen development, which remains on track for first production at the end of 2018.

The company also has exploration acreage in the area and a share of a license containing the undeveloped Asterix gas discovery.

This and other recent gas finds in the area will likely be developed over time through the Aasta Hansteen spar platform, Bachmann said, in order to sustain plateau production. Without them, Aasta Hansteen’s anticipated lifespan would be 10-15 years.  

“In these times,” Bachmann cautioned, “the speed at which you do these projects must take second place to improvements and reducing costs in order to safeguard investments.”

Wintershall continues to invest in rehabilitation measures at the Brage field in the North Sea, which under the original development plan was due to cease operating in 2005.

The company has raised production through two successful infill wells and plans to re-start drilling from the platform in 2017.

At the same time, the company has worked on reducing both maintenance and operating costs, without impacting asset integrity, Bachmann said, partly through taking on certain activities in-house that would normally be assigned to outside specialists. All staff on the platform are being encouraged to come up with ideas to bring operating costs down further, he added.

“We also plan to reduce the costs of drilling our new wells significantly compared with before, in order to keep Brage in production until 2030.”


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