Gina Krog platform in North Sea; Source: Øyvind Torjusen/Equinor

Equinor hands over development plan for multi-million gas tie-back in North Sea

Norway’s energy giant Equinor has submitted to Norway’s Ministry of Petroleum and Energy a plan for the development and operation (PDO) of a gas discovery in the North Sea, which is expected to extend the life of the Gina Krog field. Thanks to electrification, this field is expected to have a low-emission footprint.

Gina Krog platform in North Sea; Source: Øyvind Torjusen/Equinor

According to Equinor, this PDO is for the Eirin gas discovery located in the central part of the North Sea, northwest of the Gina Krog field. The recoverable reserves in the field are estimated at 27.6 million barrels of oil equivalent, most of which is gas. This field, which was discovered in 1978, will be developed as a subsea template tied to the Gina Krog platform in the North Sea and total investments are estimated at just over NOK 4 billion or around $373.2 million.

Following the PDO submission, Terje Aasland, Norway’s Minister of Petroleum and Energy, commented: “After we received a large number of development plans last year, it is pleasing to see that the companies continue to mature new projects and that there is a high level of activity on the shelf. It shows that the Norwegian continental shelf is competitive.”

When the energy crisis struck, there was close cooperation with Norwegian authorities to deliver as much gas as possible to Europe and increased gas export from Gina Krog, by exporting gas that was previously injected to improve oil recovery, was an important contribution, explained Equinor. This brought the need to accelerate projects to extend the life of the field to the surface.

Camilla Salthe, Equinor’s senior vice president for field life extension (FLX), remarked: “Utilising Gina Krog’s infrastructure will enable Eirin to bring new gas to Europe fast, with good profitability and low CO2 emissions from production. The development will extend Gina Krog’s productive life from 2029 to 2036, and will be vital for the Sleipner area.”

With the electrification of Gina Krog and partial electrification of Sleipner, Equinor claims that production from Eirin will have low emissions, just three kilos of CO2 per barrel of oil equivalents. The production start-up is expected as early as 2025 and the field is operated by Equinor (78.2 per cent) with KUFPEC Norway as its partner (21.8 per cent).

Ketil Rongved, Equinor’s vice president for FLX Projects, stated: “Extending Gina Krog’s productive life also gives us the opportunity to mature additional new reserves in the area. We’re still seeing possibilities for new discoveries, which is why Eirin’s new subsea facility will enable tie-in of new fields.”

Eirin is a gas field located 250 kilometres west of Stavanger. The field was proven in 1978 and was part of the Gina Krog field development but was later put on hold. It is situated at a depth of approximately 4,000 metres. The water depth at the field is about 120 metres. It will be developed as a subsea facility, which will be adapted and ready for tie-in of future discoveries in the area, including an optional expansion for two to four new wells.

The volumes from Eirin will be received at Gina Krog before being sent on for further processing while condensate will be exported to Sleipner A via the planned oil pipeline from Gina Krog to Sleipner A. Gas will be transported by pipeline to the Sleipner A facility for further processing. The sales gas will be exported from the Sleipner A facility via Gassled to the market, while unstabilised condensate will be exported to the terminal at Kårstø.

Equinor is also working on finding new hydrocarbons. To this end, the Norwegian giant hired two semi-submersible rigs from COSL Offshore Management for drilling operations off Norway.