Photo: Alvheim FPSO; Source: Aker Bp

With all approvals in the bag, Aker BP cleared to fast-track North Sea field development

Norway’s Ministry of Petroleum and Energy (MPE) has approved a plan for the development and operation (PDO) of the Aker BP-operated field in the North Sea, which will enable the firm to fast-track the development to achieve the first oil 18 months after the PDO submission.

Back in September 2021, Aker BP submitted a PDO for the Frosk field off Norway to the country’s Ministry of Petroleum and Energy. As explained at the time, the development is expected to contribute to the production and reduce unit costs in the Alvheim area by utilizing existing infrastructure.

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In an update on Friday, the Norwegian Ministry of Petroleum and Energy informed that it has approved the PDO for the Frosk field, which is located approximately 25 km southwest of the Alvheim FPSO in the North Sea. The field development will be tied back to the FPSO via the existing Bøyla and Alvheim subsea infrastructure.

Terje Aasland, Norway’s Minister of Petroleum and Energy, remarked: “For the second time this year, the ministry has approved a development plan in the Alvheim area. I am very pleased with how the licensees are investing in increased recovery in this area and know there is more to come over the year.”

Total investments are projected at around NOK 2 billion (over $198 million) and the production is scheduled to start in the first quarter of 2023 with an expected production life of 10 years. The recoverable reserves are estimated at 1.51 million standard cubic meters (Sm3) of oil equivalents, divided into 1.43 million Sm3 of oil and 0.08 billion Sm3 of gas. “The project is socio-economically profitable and robust,” according to the Norwegian Ministry of Petroleum and Energy.

“In addition to tax revenues and work related to construction and installation, the development of Frosk and extended operation of the production vessel on the Alvheim field will contribute positively to employment nationally and regionally also in the operational phase,” added Aasland.

Based on the operator’s data, the recoverable reserves in Frosk are estimated at around 10 million barrels of oil equivalents (mmboe). The field was discovered in early 2018, and knowledge of the discovery has been increased through test production. The concept for the field entails a subsea development connected to the Bøyla subsea infrastructure and two new production wells will be drilled to effectively drain the remaining areas of the Frosk field.

Aker BP believes that the Frosk development will result in reduced opex- and CO2 per barrel from the Alvheim FPSO from a start-up in 2023, one year before the Kobra East and Gekko (KEG) development is planned to come on stream.

Aker BP, as the operator of Frosk, holds 65 per cent interest and its partners are Vår Energi (20 per cent) and Lundin Energy Norway (15 per cent), however, since Lundin Energy’s oil and gas business was transferred to Aker BP recently, this is now a subsidiary and its name has been changed to ABP Norway.

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The Norwegian Ministry of Petroleum and Energy has pointed out that the Frosk project has matured over the two years since test production started, while the proposed solution enables a fast-track development with the first oil planned 18 months after PDO submission.