Erskine restart delayed due to pipeline maintenance

Production restart from the Chevron-operated Erskine gas condensate field in the UK sector of the North Sea has been delayed by two weeks, following a suspension for facilities maintenance. 

The field includes a normally unattended installation and is remotely controlled from the Chrysaor-operated Lomond platform. Lomond field operatorship was transferred from Shell following its North Sea assets sale to Chrysaor early this year.

An 18.6 mile (30 km) pipeline links the two facilities. Processing takes place in a dedicated module on the Lomond platform. Gas and condensate are exported separately to Chrysaor’s North Everest platforms before gas is finally exported via the Central Area Transmission System and condensate is exported through the Forties Pipeline System.

Production from the field was suspended on July 31 for maintenance coinciding with a period of maintenance of the Forties Pipeline System through which Erskine condensate is transported. At the same time a planned treatment to soak and remove wax build-up in the Lomond to Everest condensate export pipeline has been carried out. Production was scheduled to restart in the past week, Serica Energy, Chevron’s partner in the Erskine field, reported on Tuesday.

However, the operator of the Lomond platform has advised Serica that restart of production operations is expected to be deferred for a further two weeks period in order to allow monitoring and control of methanol and xylene components used for the wax treatment prior to resumption of exports to the Forties Pipeline System. On completion of this process, Erskine wells will be flowed at maximum rates to clear the treated wax from the line. If the line is sufficiently clear, a pigging program will then be implemented to maintain the pipeline going forward although it is possible that further chemical treatment may be required before pigging can start.


Production guidance affected 


Serica is amending its full year production guidance to between 2,200boe/d and 2,400boe/d to provide for the extended period of facilities maintenance. During this period the opportunity has been taken to improve equipment performance, including finalizing the installation of a back-up export pump on the Erskine production module on the Lomond platform and overhauling the power generation system.

Commenting on the company’s performance, Serica’s Executive Chairman, Tony Craven Walker, said: “Although the pipeline de-waxing procedures have taken longer than planned by the Lomond operator and Erskine production will resume later than we were expecting, the underlying field capability remains strong and we expect production to pick up as soon as the current restrictions are resolved.”

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