UK-Dutch Orca gas field drilling starts

A group led by GDF Suez Nederland has spudded the first development well at Orca natural gas field straddling the UK-Netherlands North Sea sector line and expects first production late this year or early in 2014.

RWE Dea UK, a partner, said the group has completed installation of the normally unmanned platform D18a-A in 40 m of water in Dutch waters about 500 m from the sector line. The Oleg Strashnov vessel did the work.

The platform is designed to produce as much as 2.4 million normal cu m/day of gas from as many as six wells. Three production wells are now planned. The first development well targets Carboniferous pay at about 3,600 m.

Orca field is in Dutch blocks D15b and D18a and UK blocks 44/24a, 44/29b, and 44/30a.

Produced gas will be separated from free liquid on the new platform, measured, and carried through an 8-in. subsea pipeline to the D15a-A platform 20 km north for further treatment. A 2-in. pipeline is to be installed to handle methanol supply from the D15a-A platform.

Treated Orca gas will move from the D15a-A platform via an existing trunkline operated by Noordgastransport to Uithuizen in the Netherlands.

Orca interests are GDF Suez Nederland (operator) 22.495%, E.On E&P UK Ltd. 23.4685%, EBN 22.5%, RWE Dea UK 19.712%, GDF Suez E&P UK 8.58%, and Faroe Petroleum (UK) 3.2445%.

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