North Sea in £430m boost as two projects get green light

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The North Sea is to benefit from £430 million of investment after regulators gave the green light to plans for two new fields.

BP and Shell have been given the go-ahead by the Oil and Gas Authority (OGA) for the Alligin field, 140 kilometres west of Shetland, which is targeting 20 million barrels of oil equivalent.

The North Sea industry welcomed the Budget. Picture: contributed

The North Sea industry welcomed the Budget. Picture: contributed

The OGA has also given approval for the development of Zennor Petroleum’s Finlaggan gas field development in the North Sea. The company said yesterday that it had agreed a £170m loan facility to help fund the £200m project.

Industry body Oil & Gas UK said the latest approvals took the total number of new field development projects brought into play through its approvals in 2018 to nine, the same amount as the last three years combined, and with more expected to be announced in the coming months

Mike Tholen, upstream policy director, said: “As the year draws to a close, we are seeing an improved landscape for the sector after one of the most testing and prolonged downturns in its history.”

The Alligin development, which will be operated by BP, is expected to see production of 12,000 barrels a day from two wells that will be tied back into the existing Schiehallion and Loyal subsea infrastructure. It is expected to come on stream in 2020.

Alligin is part of a series of developments in the North Sea aiming to access new production from fields located near established infrastructure.

BP North Sea regional president Ariel Flores said: “Developments like this have shorter project cycles, allowing us to bring on new production quicker. These subsea tiebacks complement our major start-ups and underpin BP’s commitment to the North Sea.”

Brenda Wyllie, West of Shetland and Northern North Sea area manager at the OGA, which has given consent for the development, said: “This fast-tracked project will maximise economic recovery through utilising capacity in the Glen Lyon [vessel] and is a good example of the competitive advantage available to operators from the extensive infrastructure installed in the [UK Continental Shelf].”

Alligin is BP’s second North Sea development approval in the past two months. Vorlich, which targets 30 million barrels of oil equivalent, received regulatory approval in September.

Its Clair Ridge development is also expected to start up later this year. It is expected to target 640 million barrels of resources and have a peak production of 120,000 barrels of oil a day.

Zennor’s Finlaggan Field, about 120 kilometres north east of Aberdeen, is expected to recover around 26 million barrels and will include two wells tied back to the ConocoPhillips operated Britannia platform.