Centrica to treble production, extend life of North Sea oil field

A Centrica-owned oil field in the North Sea has been given a new lease of life following a £35 million ($45.3M) investment.

Centrica said on Monday that it will drill a new production well at Chestnut field which aims to more than treble production and extend the life of the field which otherwise would have been shut in later this year.

The contract for Teekay’s Hummingbird Spirit floating production, storage and offloading (FPSO) vessel at Chestnut, 200km north-east of Aberdeen, has also been extended by up to three years to 2020, securing 70 jobs on the installation, the company added. The cylindrical FPSO has been operating on the Chestnut field since 2008.

Chestnut’s current production from two existing wells stands at just under 4,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day, and the new production well – which will be drilled by Paragon’s MSS1 semi-submersible rig later this year – is expected to bring a further 10,000 barrels per day on stream, taking total daily production to nearly 14,000 barrels per day.

Paragon recently said that the MSS1 semi-sub would start the one-well contract with Centrica in August and end in October.

According to Centrica, the £35 million investment further extends the life of the Chestnut field, which has already outstripped all expectations since first oil in 2008. The field was initially expected to produce 7 million barrels of oil over three years, but thanks to additional investment from Centrica and consistently high uptime, it has since exported 20 million barrels.

Nigel MacLean, Asset Manager for the Central North Sea at Centrica, said: “Chestnut has been an important part of Centrica’s North Sea portfolio for nearly 10 years, so we’re delighted to not only boost production from the field but also extend its life even further. Fields like Chestnut underline the importance of maximizing the potential of as many North Sea fields as possible, whether they be major finds or small pools.”

MacLean, who worked on the Chestnut project during development and opened the valve for first oil, added: “It is testament to the innovative approach taken on Chestnut, and the efforts of everyone involved in the project, that a field initially expected to be online for three years is now approaching its 10th anniversary having produced more than double the initial expectations.”

Gunther Newcombe, OGA Operations Director, said: “The potential production from this incremental Chestnut field investment demonstrates the value of focused late-life management.

“This investment is a great example of the OGA and industry’s shared objective of delivering maximized economic recovery for the UK.”

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