North Sea Catcher on schedule, weather delays Solan

Premier Oil says its Catcher area project in the UK central North Sea is progressing on budget and on schedule.

Offshore staff

LONDON – Premier Oil says its Catcher area project in the UK central North Sea is progressing on budget and on schedule.

Engineering procurement and construction of keysubsea equipment has started, including the drilling templates, gas export line, pipeline manifolds, and subsea trees and control systems. First steel was cut for the FPSO hull in Japan in early January.

Offshore construction activity is expected to begin in mid-year with the installation of the subsea facilities, including the gas export line and drilling templates. Around the same time the jackupENSCO 100 should start development drilling.

Commissioning for theSolan oil field development west of Shetland started in November with the arrival of the Safe Scandinavia flotel, which can accommodate up to 400 people. However, the program has taken longer than anticipated due to bad weather and low productivity over the winter period.

Despite the improvement in recent weeks, more accommodation modules will be needed to achieve habitation on the platform. One option could be a conversion of the drilling rig which is contracted to arrive next month.

The delays mean that first oil will be later than previously indicated. Premier continues to target plateau production fromSolan of 20-25,000 b/d by year-end.

Premier’s upcoming UK North Sea exploration campaign is focused on near field exploration opportunities near its existing developments and producing assets. Preparations are in hand to drill an exploration well on the Laverda prospect north of the Catcher area hub in 2016.

Work also continues on the Bagpuss and Blofeld heavy-oil prospects on the Halibut Horst, a well-defined basement high within the Moray Firth. The partners aim to drill the Bagpuss well during the first half of 2016.

In the Norwegian sector, the front-end engineering and design (FEED) for Premier’s plannedVette (ex-Bream) FPSO development in the North Sea was completed last year, and the company expected to submit development approval documentation to the Norwegian government early in 2015.

However, following the oil price fall, a final investment decision has been deferred until the end of this year so that the partners can work with the supply chain on lowering the costs.

The development will focus on recovering 40 MMbbl via four producer and two injector wells tied back to an FPSO. In the adjacent PL406 license the Mackerel discovery will be incorporated into a potential second phase.

Work also continued last year on the non-operated Frøy field to identify a viable development concept. Following acquisition and interpretation of new seismic data, reassessment of subsurface resources has been completed and screening of development concepts is under way. These include standalone options and a tieback to nearby infrastructure.


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