EnQuest awarded for prolonging Thistle life

EnQuest has received recognition for its success in extending the life of one of the North Sea’s older assets. The company won the Business Innovation title in the Large Enterprise category at last night’s Oil & Gas UK awards ceremony.


EnQuest’s Thistle Late Life Extension (LLX) project is at the heart of a strategy in the North Sea to recover 35 million barrels of oil from the Thistle and Deveron fields, and extend the life of the Thistle field to 2025 and beyond, the company has explained.

As a result, EnQuest says,the Thistle project has become recognised by the industry as a proven template for mature field development in the North Sea. The first phase of the LLX programme started in 2010 with a successful rig reactivation project which saw EnQuest bring Thistle drilling back online to drill its first new wells in 20 years.


Neil McCulloch, EnQuest’s president, North Sea, said: “Oil & Gas UK’s award is a welcome acknowledgement of how our strategy of extending the life of ageing assets and optimising production is succeeding. These achievements, which have been made with an exemplary safety record, are credit to everyone in the management, operational and support teams because a huge amount of commitment, focus, collaboration and drive goes into delivering such exceptional safe results.

“It is also an important endorsement of how the right level of investment, combined with the right vision, technical expertise and innovative thinking can breathe new life into an ageing asset and give it a sustainable future.”

EnQuest, which is the largest UK independent producer in the UK North Sea, says it has established a strong track record in maximising production from ageing assets by capitalising on opportunities created by large operators who are divesting their interests in the region.

The company says that key to its strategy has been the company’s focus to invest in mature assets – both financially and in terms of time management – while also using existing technology in smarter ways combined with the company’s technical expertise to unlock their potential.

The LLX project represents a major turnaround for Thistle. By simplifying plant equipment layout and upgrading obsolete systems, EnQuest has reinvigorated one of the North Sea’s oldest platforms. As a proven LLX template, EnQuest is also applying the same approach to its Heather asset, the company’s second major redevelopment project.

Heather’s return to drilling (R2D2) programme – part of a strategy to target some of the 360 million barrels of oil estimated to remain in the field – led to the start-up of drilling on the platform for the first time since 2006. The R2D2 project will extend the life of the Heather platform, which has twice faced decommissioning in the past, to around 2030, EnQuest further explains.

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