Photo: ETAP facility in the North Sea; Source: BP

BP makes headway with plans to develop North Sea oil field

Oil and gas major BP is moving ahead with plans for the development of the Murlach oil field located in the UK North Sea, which could see the production of its first oil in 2025.

BP submitted its Environmental Statement for the Murlach project to the UK authorities on 14 April. The public consultation period started on 28 April with an end date set for 30 May 2022.

BP is the operator of the Murlach field, formerly known as Skua, with an 80 per cent interest and NEO Energy is its partner with the remaining 20 per cent interest. NEO entered the project last year through the acquisition of Zennor Petroleum.

The oil field lies within UKCS Block 22/24h of the central North Sea, approximately 203 km east of the Aberdeenshire coastline, Scotland. It is located approximately 27 km from the UK / Norway median line in a water depth of approximately 93 to 95 m.

Location of the Murlach field. Source: BP
Location of the Murlach field. Source: BP

This is a new project to redevelop the field formerly known as Skua. The essential nature of the project is the drilling of the Murlach wells, the installation and commissioning of the required subsea infrastructure, and the operation of the wells and infrastructure for the extraction and production of hydrocarbons from the Murlach field.

Specifically, the proposed Murlach Field Development project is a two production well tieback development. It involves the drilling of two production wells tied back to a new manifold, installation of a c. 7 km gas lift flowline from the existing Eastern Trough Area Project (ETAP) platform to the new Murlach manifold and tie-ins to the repurposed Heron A production flowline, Heron to Seagull wash water flowline system and existing Seagull umbilical.

Produced fluids will be processed at the ETAP central processing facility before onward export via the Forties Pipeline System and Central Area Transmission System.

Subsea facility installation and first drilling operations are currently due to begin at the Murlach field in 2024. Well tie-in and commissioning are expected in 1Q 2025 and the first oil is expected in 2Q 2025. The field life is estimated to be 11 years.

ETAP is an integrated development of seven different reservoirs. Six separate fields are operated by BP, namely Marnock, Machar, Madoes, Mungo, Monan, and Mirren. One field, Seagull, is currently operated by Neptune E&P UK and is expected to come online in 2023.

The ETAP CPF is a fixed manned installation that lies in UKCS Block 22/24a over the Marnock field located approximately 207 km east of the Aberdeenshire coastline, Scotland and approximately 35 km from the UK / Norway median line. The Murlach field is located approximately 7 km south of the ETAP CPF.

The Murlach oil field project is subject to an environmental impact assessment procedure. UK’s regulator, the NSTA, is responsible for deciding whether or not to grant consent for the project, but agreement to the grant of consent must be obtained from the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy prior to consent being granted.

The Secretary of State’s decision on whether to agree to the grant of consent is based on the environmental impact assessment for the project.