Photo: Hod B platform; Source: Aker BP

Aker BP wins regulator’s approval to use Hod B platform in North Sea

Norwegian offshore safety regulator, the Petroleum Safety Authority (PSA), has given Aker BP its consent to use the Hod B platform at a field in the North Sea off Norway.

On 8 December 2020, the Norwegian Ministry of Petroleum and Energy approved the plan for development and operation (PDO) for the Hod field, which is located in the southern part of the Norwegian sector in the North Sea, about 13 kilometres south of the Valhall field.

The PSA’s consent for the use of the Hod B facility covers start-up, operation, maintenance, well operations, and all associated activities.

The Hod B platform – a normally unmanned installation wellhead platform – is part of the Valhall complex development and will be remotely controlled from the Valhall field centre, with low CO2 emissions due to power from shore. The Hod B platform is a copy of the Valhall Flank West platform, for which the PDO was approved in 2018 and production started in 2019.

The first steel for the Hod B platform was cut in Aker Solutions’ yard in Verdal back in June 2020. Heerema transported and installed the Hod B platform on behalf of Aker BP in two phases using its semi-submersible crane vessel Sleipnir.

During the project’s first phase, Sleipnir installed the 3,400-metric ton jacket in early July 2021. Afterwards, the vessel returned to the field and installed the 2,100-metric ton topside in August 2021, just one year and two months after the first steel was cut.

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Aker BP and its partner Pandion Energy expect Hod to produce 40 million barrels of oil equivalent. Pandion also confirmed earlier this month that it currently produces over 5,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day through its 10 per cent ownership in the Valhall and Hod fields, anticipating a further increase as the new Hod B platform comes on stream in 2022. Aker BP holds the remaining 90 per cent interest in the Hod field.

Several subsea campaigns are planned to be conducted in the Hod project leading up to production start in 2022, such as installation and connection of the gas lift pipelines, production flowlines and umbilicals.

Regarding these activities, Aker BP informed in its report for the fourth quarter of 2021 that the Hod field development and integration activities between Hod B and the Valhall field centre progressed according to plan with the subsea installation activities starting in the fourth quarter.

The first oil from the Hod B platform is now expected in the second quarter of 2022. The company explained that the production start from Hod was originally planned for the first quarter of 2022, but the timeline had to be changed due to the late arrival of an installation vessel.

Meanwhile, the Hod A plug and abandonment (P&A) project, which covers permanent P&A of eight wells, passed decision gate 2 (DG2), and a final investment decision is also expected in the second quarter of 2022, according to Aker BP.