LONDON – Independent Oil and Gas has provided an update on preparations for first gas from the Saturn Banks project in the UK southern North Sea.
At the Bacton reception terminal on the Norfolk coast, a pre-startup safety review has taken place ahead of final Saturn Banks commissioning. However, stormy weather has interfered with the final construction and leak test program with a knock-on impact on commissioning of the safety instrumentation systems.
The plant will therefore not be ready to start backgassing until next week, with first gas from the Blythe and Elgood wells now expected around a week later.
However, the persistently unsettled weather could also impede the operations required at the Blythe platform as part of the backgassing and start-up procedures, although much of this work is now complete.
Also, an inspection by the UK Health and Safety Executive identified numerous issues that need to be resolved prior to startup.
In parallel, IOG is working on options to allow drilling operations to proceed on the Southwark field: unstable conditions due to seabed scouring caused activity to be suspended last month.
The plan, agreed with the jackup rig owner Noble, involves creating pads on the seabed with suitably sized rocks to allow stable positioning of the rig spud cans. Drilling should now resume next month, subject to regulatory approvals.