Floatel Superior; Source: Floatel

Green light for Vår Energi to put Floatel unit to work at North Sea field

Norwegian offshore safety regulator has given Vår Energi consent to deploy one of Floatel’s semi-submersible support vessels at a field in the North Sea off Norway.

Floatel Superior; Source: Floatel

The Petroleum Safety Authority Norway recently reported that it had given Vår Energi consent to use Floatel Superior on the Balder field in 2023. This field is located in the central part of the North Sea, just west of the Grane field. The water depth in the area is 125 metres.

The 2010-built Floatel Superior is a dynamically positioned (DP-3) semi-submersible accommodation and construction support vessel, which was constructed at the Keppel FELS yard in Singapore. This vessel can accommodate 440 people. It received an Acknowledgement of Compliance (AoC) from the PSA in 2011.

Discovered in 1967, the Balder field has been developed with subsea wells tied back to the Balder production, storage and offloading vessel (FPSO). The initial plan for development and operation (PDO) was approved in 1996 and production started in 1999.

Located nine kilometres north of the Balder FPSO, the Ringhorne deposit, which is included in the Balder complex, is developed with a combined accommodation, drilling and wellhead facility, tied back to the Balder FPSO and Jotun FPSO for processing, crude oil storage and gas export. 

A revised PDO for Balder and Ringhorne, which was approved in June 2020, includes a lifetime extension and relocation of the Jotun FPSO, and the drilling of new subsea wells. Vår Energi plans to extend the lifetime of the Balder field through the Balder X project, in a bid to extend production from the Balder hub beyond 2045.

To this end, the company has four ongoing projects, including the Balder FPU life extension through a vessel upgrade and drilling new wells on the Ringhorne III and Ringhorne IV projects.

The firm’s plan for the Balder field also entails an upgrade of the FPSO Jotun and the drilling of 14 new production wells along with one water injection well. In addition, the firm is considering drilling new exploration wells in the area.

In September 2022, Vår Energi changed the cost estimate for the project, underlining that the first oil from Balder X would be in the third quarter of 2024, rather than in late 2023, as was previously expected.