Grane; Credit: Øyvind Hagen/Equinor

North Sea oil project gets the go-ahead to come on stream

Norway’s state-owned energy giant Equinor has received the seal of approval from the country’s authorities to bring online an oil field project in the Norwegian sector of the North Sea next month.

Grane; Credit: Øyvind Hagen/Equinor

Back in September 2020, Equinor submitted the plan for the development and operation (PDO) of the Breidablikk field to the Minister of Petroleum and Energy, in addition to awarding contracts for subsea facilities and the upgrade of the Grane platform. The following month, the Norwegian giant awarded a letter of intent to Odfjell Drilling, which was set to start during the first half of 2022.

The contract for the Deepsea Aberdeen rig entails fifteen firm wells and an estimated duration of 2.5 years, plus nine optional wells. The Norwegian state-owned giant’s PDO was approved in 2021. The estimated recovery from the field is around 200 million barrels of oil. The production from the field was scheduled to start in the first half of 2024.

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However, preparations are currently underway for the start-up of the Breidablikk field in October 2023, after the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate (NPD) granted consent for the start of production on Thursday, September 28, 2023. This oil field is situated ten kilometers northeast of the Grane field, west of Haugesund at a water depth of 130 meters. Equinor is the operator, while Vår Energi, ConocoPhillips, and Petoro are its partners.

With four subsea templates, each with six well slots, the Breidablikk development will be tied to the Grane platform for oil processing before being brought ashore at the Sture terminal. The field contains around 30 million standard cubic meters of recoverable oil, which is approximately 190 million barrels of oil. Total investments are around NOK 19 billion (nearly $1.8 billion).

Located in the central North Sea, east of the Balder field in a water depth of 128 meters, the Grane field was discovered in 1991 and the PDO was approved in 2000. This project has been developed with an integrated accommodation, drilling, and processing facility with 40 well slots and a steel jacket. The production at the field started in 2003 and the Svalin field is tied back to the Grane platform.