Heidrun platform; Source: Wintershall Dea

Norwegian gas field comes on stream ahead of Europe’s winter season

Germany’s oil and gas player Wintershall Dea has started production from a gas field in the Norwegian Sea, following delays due to high levels of mercury. This field is expected to provide more gas to Europe, helping to underpin Norway’s position as the continent’s largest gas supplier.

Heidrun platform; Source: Wintershall Dea

According to Wintershall Dea, the production at its operated Dvalin gas field in the Norwegian Sea has now started. The company achieved this together with its partners, Petoro and Sval Energi, in a bid to provide new gas volumes to the European market. The field is expected to produce enough energy to heat more than 2 million homes at plateau. These additional volumes come as Europe continues to search for predictable long-term supplies of natural gas due to the Ukraine crisis.

Dawn Summers, Wintershall Dea Chief Operating Officer, commented: “We are aware that in the winter months European demand for gas will rise, and the continent will be looking to Norway to be the supplier of choice. We have worked hard to ensure Dvalin will be on stream safely, and are satisfied that the field will make a significant contribution to European energy security.”

Dvalin was planned as a development with four vertical production wells, two for the eastern part and two for the western part of the field. The drilling and completion of the four production wells, which started in August 2019, using the Transocean Arctic drilling rig, was completed in August 2020.

As the well stream from Dvalin will be sent to the Heidrun field for further processing and export, Equinor, as the operator of the Heidrun field, received consent from the Petroleum Safety Authority (PSA) for the use of facilities to link the Dvalin field to the Heidrun field in March 2020.

Wintershall Dea originally expected to kick off production from this field in November/December 2020, after receiving consent from the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate (NPD) in October of that same year.

However, measurements of high levels of mercury were found in the well stream at the Dvalin field in late 2020, which delayed the start-up. Mercury removal units have since been installed at the onshore processing facilities at Nyhamna and Tjeldbergodden in mid-Norway.

As a subsea gas field, controlled from the nearby Heidrun platform, Wintershall Dea believes that Dvalin helps maintain its gas-weighted portfolio while supporting the broader strategy of producing hydrocarbons using existing infrastructure.

Michael Zechner, Wintershall Dea Norge Managing Director, remarked: “The team has worked hard to overcome technical challenges in the field, providing robust solutions that will allow Dvalin to deliver substantial gas volumes to our European partners long into the future.”

Located some 15 kilometres northwest of Heidrun, the Dvalin field has been developed using a single subsea template with four production wells. The field now joins Maria, Nova, and Vega as the company’s fourth-operated subsea field in Norway.

With expected recoverable gross reserves estimated at 113 million barrels of oil equivalent of which the majority will be gas, the Dvalin field has an estimated lifetime until 2038, including the Dvalin North field, which is currently being developed.

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Wintershall Dea is the operator of the Dvalin field with a 55 per cent interest while Petoro and Sval Energi hold the remaining 35 and 10 per cent stake, respectively.