Njord field in the Norwegian Sea; Credit: Even Kleppa/Lizette Bertelsen – Equinor

Norwegian oil & gas field back in operation for 20 more years of production

Norway’s state-owned energy giant Equinor has officially reopened an oil and gas field in the Norwegian Sea for production after the field’s platform and the floating storage and offloading (FSO) vessel got ready to double the life of the field and the output from it, thanks to a six-year extensive upgrade process.

Njord field in the Norwegian Sea; Credit: Even Kleppa/Lizette Bertelsen – Equinor

Equinor resumed production from the Njord field in the Norwegian Sea in December 2022, extending the planned field life for another 20 years. While the field originally came on stream in 1997 and was supposed to produce until 2013, the installations were brought ashore in 2016 for extensive upgrading. The ambition is to produce some 250 million barrels of oil equivalent from Njord and Hyme or about the same volume as the fields have produced so far.

In an update on Monday, 15 May 2023, Equinor revealed that the Njord field would be officially opened by the Norwegian minister of petroleum and energy. With large volumes of oil and gas still left, the company believes that new discoveries in the area can also be produced and exported via Njord.

Terje Aasland, Norway’s Minister of Petroleum and Energy, commented: “With the war in Ukraine, the export of Norwegian oil and gas to Europe has never been more important than now. Reopening Njord contributes to Norway remaining a stable supplier of gas to Europe for many years to come.”

Furthermore, ten new wells will be drilled on Njord from an upgraded drilling facility. While discoveries have previously been made in the Njord area, more exploration is expected to be carried out close to the field. Two new subsea fields were also recently tied back to Njord.

In April 2023, the Equinor-operated Bauge field came on stream, while the Neptune-operated Fenja subsea field followed weeks later. According to the Norwegian player, the combined recoverable volumes from the two fields are 110 million barrels of oil equivalent.

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Grete B. Haaland, Equinor’s senior vice president for exploration and production north, remarked: “This is the first time a platform and an FSO have been disconnected from the field, upgraded and towed back offshore. We have now doubled the field life.

“It has been a big and demanding job, partly carried out during a pandemic, and I would like to thank everyone involved in preparing Njord for continuing its supply of oil and gas to the market. With the prices we anticipate in the coming years this comprehensive upgrading project will be repaid in just under two years after start-up.”

Moreover, the plans revealed by OKEA and Equinor – in collaboration with license partners – call for future partial electrification of the Njord field based on power from shore via the Draugen platform, thereby reducing annual CO2 emissions by around 130,000 tonnes.

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The Njord licensees are Wintershall Dea Norge (50 per cent stake), Equinor (27.5 per cent, operator) and Neptune Energy Norge (22.5 per cent). The Njord field is located in the Norwegian Sea, 30 kilometres west of Draugen, and 130 kilometres northwest of Kristiansund. The water depth in the area is 330 metres.

The oil produced at the field is piped to the FSO Njord Bravo and onwards by tankers to the market while the gas from the field is exported through a 40-kilometre pipeline connected to the Åsgard transport system (ÅTS) and from there to the Kårstø terminal.

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In a separate statement, Neptune Energy welcomed the official opening of the Njord field, adding that the Njord area would provide it with net production of 30,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day.

Odin Estensen, Neptune Energy’s Managing Director for Norway and the UK, stated: “We congratulate Equinor for their safe and successful start-up of the Njord field and the tie-back and start-up of the subsea fields Bauge, Hyme and Fenja to Njord A. 

“This is a great example of how relatively small discoveries can be brought together to create profitable, low-emission developments. The recent start-up of Fenja makes Njord Neptune’s second largest producing hub in Norway and aligns with our strategy for production with low unit cost and low CO2 intensity.”