Norwegian Continental Shelf Gets First Unmanned Platform

By The Maritime Executive 10-15-2018 03:48:22

Equinor's Oseberg Vestflanken 2 field in the North Sea came on stream on October 14, and remotely operated from the Oseberg field center, the new Oseberg H platform is the first unmanned platform on the Norwegian Continental Shelf. 

The platform has no accommodation facilities - not even a toilet - and the topside is much lighter than other similar platforms at 1,000 tons. It is located in the North Sea about eight kilometers north-west of Oseberg field center in water depths of around 110 meters.

The 11 wells on Oseberg Vestflanken 2 will be drilled by the Askepott jack-up rig, with nine drilled through the Oseberg H platform and two through an existing subsea template. 

Maintenance campaigns will be carried out once or twice a year on the platform, and while the Askepott rig is drilling wells through the platform, the maintenance personnel will stay on the rig. Afterwards they will stay on a vessel hooked up to Oseberg H by a gangway.

The alternative to an unmanned wellhead platform would have been subsea wells. The new concept provides a competitive alternative in developing smaller discoveries, says Equinor. Equinor is planning to further develop the unmanned concept to reduce costs even further.

Recoverable resources from the Oseberg Vestflanken 2 field are 110 million barrels, and, coming in under budget, the break-even price has been reduced from $34 to below $20 per barrel.

“With the Oseberg Vestflanken 2 development we keep expanding the massive infrastructure at the Oseberg field. This is a key contribution to renewing and securing long-term Norwegian Continental Shelf activity,” says Arne Sigve Nylund, Equinor’s executive vice president for Development and Production Norway. Even after 30 years of production Oseberg will play an important role on the Norwegian Continental Shelf for decades to come, both as a major equity producer and as a hub for new additional volumes, he says.

Partners in the Oseberg Vestflanken 2 production license are Equinor Energy (49.3 percent), Petoro (33.6 percent), Total E&P Norge (14.7 percent) and ConocoPhillips Skandinavia (2.4 percent).

The field is expected to be productive until 2040.