Startup is now likely in third-quarter 2024 (the original guidance was for late 2023). However, the production target of more than 350,000 boe/d by the end of 2025 is unchanged.
Balder X, encompassing the Balder Future and Ringhorne Phase IV drilling projects, will sustain production from the Balder Hub through 2045 and support development of new discoveries nearby through infrastructure upgrades.
A recent baseline review found that further investments of US$1.2 billion (NOK11.5 billion) would be needed, lifting the total estimated project cost to US$4.3 billion (NOK40.7 billion).
The increase and the schedule change relate mainly to the expanded scope and additional engineering and construction work on the Jotun FPSO lifetime extension for Balder X.
Other factors have been continuing issues connected with COVID-19, weather conditions for drilling and offshore activities, and commodity and services price inflation.
But the main production impact from the revised schedule should be partly mitigated by a faster ramp-up of production, the company added, as more Balder Future production wells should be ready for startup. And much of the incremental capex should be incurred in 2024.
Vår Energi CEO Torger Rød said, “We are committed to the safe execution of the remaining project scope to complete the refurbishment of the Jotun FPSO as efficiently as possible.”
Balder X should deliver a further 143 MMbbl of recoverable reserves. Once the Jotun FPSO is reinstalled, it will be connected both to the Balder Future production wells and tie-ins of the new Ringhorne field wells.
Last year’s King and Prince, with combined reserves of 60 MMbbl to 135 MMbbl, are also under review for tiebacks to the FPSO, with further exploration prospects under evaluation in the Balder area.
“Balder is part of the first production license awarded in Norway and has since 1999 produced approximately 500 MMboe,” Rød said. “We see a potential to increase the production from the greater Balder area up toward 1 Bbbl based on planned projects, recent discoveries and adding risked exploration resources."
The Balder X project includes the Balder FPU life extension.