Photo: Blythe platform; Source: IOG

IOG takes final step to first gas from UK project

UK company IOG plc is finishing the final works required for the start-up of its Saturn Banks Project – Phase 1, located in the UK sector of the North Sea, including pipeline backgassing, so that the project could be brought online next week.

After stormy weather conditions in late February 2022 hindered the execution of final works required to be checked off the list before bringing the Saturn Banks Project – Phase 1 online, the timeline for backgassing was moved to the week beginning on 28 February with the first gas expected approximately a week later.

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In its update on Friday, IOG informed that all construction, commissioning and function testing activities at the Saturn Banks Reception Facilities (SBRF) had been completed and fully signed off. The firm also confirmed that the required UK Health and Safety Executive clarifications had been addressed.

In addition, IOG explained that the pre-start-up safety review and operations walk-down have been concluded. This enabled IOG, its pipeline and platform operator ODE Asset Management, and Bacton terminal operator Perenco UK to be fully satisfied to begin the backgassing process on 4 March 2021.

The company also elaborated that backgassing involves a reverse flow of gas from the terminal to pressurise the pipeline system up to the safe operating window for start-up, with final function tests of equipment and safety systems before forward flow can begin.

IOG further stated that the backgassing and well start-up sequence was likely to take approximately one week – subject to weather and logistics – with the first IOG sales gas to be received onshore rapidly thereafter.

Andrew Hockey, CEO of IOG, remarked: “I’m very pleased to say that the onshore Saturn Banks Reception Facilities (SBRF) have now been fully commissioned and pipeline backgassing has started today. This is the final step to first gas which we expect in approximately one week’s time. My thanks go to terminal operator Perenco who have worked very hard to ensure the onshore facilities are safe and ready for IOG’s first production.”

Sanctioned in October 2019, the IOG-operated Saturn Banks Project – Phase 1 consists of BlytheElgood, and Southwark fields in the UK Southern North Sea. IOG holds a 50 per cent stake in this project and its partner CalEnergy Resources holds the remaining 50 per cent.

As previously reported, the project targets a gross peak production rate of 140 mmscf/d – 24,000 Boe/d – from gross 2P gas reserves of 302 Bcfe and management estimated 2C gas contingent resources of 132 Bcfe, via an efficient hub strategy based on co-owned infrastructure.