The first production well on the Grane platform in the Norwegian North Sea began producing oil on Sept 23, three weeks ahead of schedule.
It is the first of 12 pre-drilled wells being linked to the platform. Oil production from the field will increase gradually until the planned level of just over 210,000 b/d is achieved. According to the development plan, peak production is expected during the first six months of 2005.
The Grane field has been developed with an integrated production and drilling platform at a water depth of 120 m. The field, discovered by Norsk Hydro in 1991, has been developed in close collaboration with Aker Kværner, which has designed and built the platform.
Gas from the Heimdal Gas Centre is transported via a 50-km gas pipeline to be reinjected into the Grane reservoir to increase oil production. Produced oil from Grane is transported through a 212-km pipeline to Hydro's terminal at Stura in Øygarden.
The Grane field contains heavier oil than is found in the rest of the Norwegian sector (API 18.5) and is therefore expected to be sold at a lower price than average Brent Blend.
Estimates place recoverable reserves from the Grane field at 700 MMbbl of oil. The field will become one of the top-producers in the Norwegian offshore sector when it reaches peak production.
According to Torgeir Kydland, president of Norsk Hydro operations and production, "The Grane project shows what can be achieved when the operator, partners, and contractors all pull together. We have spent about one and a half billion kroner less than budgeted, and production started three weeks ahead of schedule."
Norsk Hydro operates the Grane license with 38% interest. Partners are Petoro with 30%, ExxonMobil with 25.6%, and ConocoPhillips 6.4%.