The Ærfugl development is a two-phase subsea project. Both phases are tied into the existing the Skarv field FPSO, which is about 210 km (130 mi) west of Sandnessjøen.
The plan for development and operation for Ærfugl was approved by the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy in April 2018.
Phase 1, which develops the southern part of the Ærfugl field, consists of three new wells. Phase 2 consists of an additional three wells in the northern part of the field. In April 2020, production started from the first Phase 2 well – more than three years ahead of the original plan. The remaining two Phase 2 wells are expected to come onstream in 2021.
The more than 60-km (37-mi) long and 2-3-km (1-2-mi) wide reservoir holds a total of around 300 MMboe.
Total investment costs for the Ærfugl project (phases 1 and 2) are about NOK8 billion ($873 million).
According to Aker BP, development of Ærfugl is enabled by two new technologies:
- More efficient drainage of reservoir through new vertical valve trees.
- Long distance, electrically heated flowlines to avoid hydrates in the gas pipelines. This technology is said to improve heat efficiency compared with regular technology and enables longer tiebacks.
Ærfugl is one of the most profitable development projects on the Norwegian continental shelf, the company claimed. The initial estimated breakeven oil price was $18.5/bbl (converted from gas). Due to increased reserves, earlier production, stronger dollar and accelerated tax depreciation, the breakeven price has improved to less than $15/bbl.