Premier shuts down Huntington field in the North Sea

May 14, 2020
Premier Oil says its UK offshore production operations have not been materially impacted so far by COVID-19.

Offshore staff

LONDONPremier Oil says its UK offshore production operations have not been materially impacted so far by COVID-19.

The company has implemented pre-flight screening measures and additional passenger protocols for travellers to its offshore installations, and introduced dedicated helicopter flights for workers that develop COVID-19 symptoms offshore and those in contact with the suspected cases.

In addition, Premier has reduced manning levels on all its installations to ensure safe operations and has cut back planned shut downs to include critical maintenance/committed project work only.  

During 1Q the company’s UK fields produced 47,100 boe/d. At Catcher in the central North Sea, operating efficiency was impacted by an unplanned gas plant outage at the end of April, although production resumed earlier this week.

The Varadero infill well (VP1) spudded on Monday: once onstream, this will help maintain Catcher’s plateau rates. However, the company has postponed planned development drilling at Catcher North and Laverda and a 4D seismic survey in order to minimize its 2020 capex spend. 

In the same sector, production has ceased for good at Huntington. Flushing of the flowlines and topsides is under way ahead of the planned sailaway of the circular FPSO in mid-year.

West of Shetland, the Solan field’s P3 vertical pilot well was completed and will now be side tracked horizontally. This should lift overall production from the field above 10,000 b/d during 4Q.

As for the current Tolmount gas field development in the southern UK North Sea, work on the platform was halted in March at the Rosetti yard in Ravenna Italy due to lockdown measures, but has since resumed with COVID-19 restrictions in place.

Installation should now follow in late summer, with the drilling rig then mobilized to support final commissioning of the platform and to start drilling the four development wells. Laying of the pipeline should proceed as planned this summer, with first gas now expected in spring 2021.