Photo: Veslefrikk; Source: Equinor

Equinor gets consent to extend Veslefrikk field life

Norwegian safety watchdog Petroleum Safety Authority (PSA) has given Equinor a consent for the life extension for Veslefrikk.

PSA said on Tuesday that the consent given to Equinor applies to the operation of Veslefrikk until 21 December 2022.

It is worth stating that new technologies, operating methods, and measures allow the extraction of more oil and gas than originally planned. The licensees then often choose to continue using old facilities even after they have reached their age limits.

In many cases, it is socio-economically beneficial to use old facilities beyond their design life. At the same time, it is unacceptable to allow life extensions for ageing facilities which pose a safety risk.

As for the field, Veslefrikk is located in the northern part of the North Sea, 30 kilometres north of the Oseberg field. The water depth is 185 metres. The field was discovered in 1981, and the plan for development and operation (PDO) was approved in 1987. It is developed with two facilities, Veslefrikk A and Veslefrikk B.

Veslefrikk A is a fixed steel wellhead facility with bridge connection to Veslefrikk B. Veslefrikk B is a semi-submersible facility for processing and accommodation. Production started in 1989.

The field produces oil and some gas from Jurassic sandstone in the Statfjord, Dunlin, and Brent groups. The main reservoir is in the Brent Group and contained originally about 80 per cent of the reserves.

It produced oil and gas with pressure support via water alternating gas injection in the Brent and Dunlin reservoirs and with gas recycling in the Statfjord reservoir. Gas export from Veslefrikk has increased since 2014, and water injection is used to optimise drainage of remaining oil and gas resources.

Oil is exported via the Oseberg transport system to the Sture terminal while gas is exported through the Gassled system to the terminal at Kårstø.

According to the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate, a decommissioning plan is being prepared and the field is expected to be shut-in before 2023.

To remind, Equinor – then Statoil – made a decision to extend the lifetime of the field offshore Norway by seven years back in September 2017. At the time, the company planned to end the life of the field in 2025.