LONDON – Shell and its partners have decided to delay construction of the new Arran to Shearwater pipeline in the UK central North Sea due to the current business environment.
Start-up of Columbus is now likely to be in late 2021.
In the same region, Serica still aims to drill the HP/HT North Eigg exploration well in 2021, after securing a license containing the North Eigg and South Eigg prospects as part of an out of round application.
Based on 3D seismic, North Eigg appears to share similarities with the nearby Rhum field, also operated by Serica. The project is part of the company’s strategy for further development of the Bruce catchment area.
If North Eigg is a commercial discovery, Serica would seek a fasttrack subsea tieback to the Bruce field facilities.
In January, during an inspection of the Bruce platform, the condition of an unused seawater return caisson, taken out of service in 2009, was found to have deteriorated. This led to production being suspended while the problem was investigated.
A subsequent underwater inspection revealed that the unused caisson had parted below the water line. Over the following weeks the issue was rectified and production resumed on March 5.
Last year Serica successfully trialled lower pressures at the Bruce wellheads to increase gas production, also recommissioning the test separator on the compression platform, increasing the company’s capability to undertake well performance tests.
Despite COVID-19 and the fall in commodity prices, the Bruce platform provides around 5% of the UK’s gas production and therefore needs to maintain normal operations, Serica said. There have been no interruptions to production in recent weeks, but the company has reduced manning levels on the platform to lessen the risk of an outbreak, also providing isolation areas for suspected cases.