BP and co-venturers Shell, Chevron and ConocoPhillips have announced first oil from the giant Clair Ridge project in the West of Shetland region offshore the UK.
Clair Ridge is the second phase of development of the Clair field, located 75 km west of Shetland. The field, which was discovered in 1977, has an estimated 7bn barrels of hydrocarbons.
Two new, bridge-linked platforms, together with oil and gas export pipelines, have been constructed as part of the Clair Ridge project. The new facilities, which required capital investment in excess of £4.5bn, are designed for 40 years of production. The project has been designed to recover an estimated 640mn barrels of oil, with production expected to ramp up to a peak at plateau level of 120,000 b/d.
Clair Ridge is the first offshore deployment of BP’s enhanced oil recovery technology, LoSal®, which has the potential to increase oil recovery from reservoirs by using reduced salinity water in water injection. This is expected to result in up to 40mn additional barrels being cost-effectively recovered over the lifetime of the development. (For more on this, see Petroleum Review’s EOR articles, March 2016 and March 2017.)
In addition to the platforms, the Clair Ridge project also included new pipeline infrastructure, with the installation of a 5.5 km oil export pipeline tying into the Clair Phase 1 export pipeline. Oil from Clair is exported to the Sullom Voe terminal on Shetland.
A new 14.6 km gas export pipeline tying Clair Ridge into the West of Shetland Pipeline Systems (WOSPS) was also installed as part of the project, transporting gas to Sullom Voe.
Clair Ridge also features an advanced drill rig which will deliver a drilling programme over several years. There are 36 well slots, two of which are being used for the tie-back of pre-drilled wells. The drilling programme, which is likely to last more than 10 years, includes drilling and completing development wells from the remaining 34 well slots.
The start of production of Clair Ridge follows the start-up earlier in 2018 of five other major upstream projects by BP – Atoll Phase One, offshore Egypt; the Shah Deniz 2 gas development in Azerbaijan; the TAAS expansion project in Russia; Western Flank B offshore Western Australia; and the Thunderhorse Northwest Expansion in the Gulf of Mexico. This string of developments follows seven major project completions in 2017 and is key to delivering the 900,000 boe of new production that BP expects from new upstream major projects by 2021.
Commenting on the Clair Ridge’s start-up, UK Energy Minister Claire Perry said: ‘The North Sea is crucial for the UK’s energy security, and helping businesses maximise economic recovery there is an aim for this government. Aided by the innovative use of technology developed in the UK and a strong UK-based supply chain worth £1.5bn, this will allow the North Sea to continue to be a hub for the high-skilled, well-paid jobs at the centre of our modern Industrial Strategy.’
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- Journal title: Petroleum Review