Ithaca faces delay in Stella start-up

Ithaca Energy is facing a delay in the Stella oil field start-up, in the UK sector of the North Sea, due to faults found on the production facility. 

Ithaca said on Friday that activities on the offshore commissioning program for the FPF-1 floating production facility are well advanced and preparation for start-up of the Stella field is on-going.

However, during routine inspections, faults on a number of electrical junction boxes on the unit’s processing facilities have been identified and a program of necessary repairs is underway. All other preparations are on plan, the company noted.

The start-up was previously planned for the end of November, however, due to this additional work it is now anticipated in early January 2017, upon completion of the work.

Les Thomas, Chief Executive Officer, commented: “The safety and integrity of the facility is paramount and we must ensure that everything is done meticulously in advance of the introduction of hydrocarbons into the facility.

“Although any delay to start-up at this stage is frustrating, the value of a thorough inspection program has been proven and we look forward to completion of this work and the imminent start-up of production.”

The Ithaca-operated Greater Stella Area is located in the heart of the Central Graben area of the Central North Sea. The Greater Stella Area licenses contain the Stella and Harrier fields, approved for development in April 2012.

The development is centered on the drilling of subsea wells tied back to the FPF-1 floating production unit, with the onward transportation of processed hydrocarbons to nearby existing oil and gas export infrastructure.

The FPF-1 will be moored on location using twelve pre-installed anchor chains. The dynamic risers and umbilicals that connect the subsea infrastructure to the unit will then be installed.

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