Norwegian oil and gas giant Statoil AS has set the ball rolling on a subsea well maintenance initiative that aims to yield yearly savings of as much as 1 billion kroner for 9 fields off Norway. Eighteen companies have signed up to the so-called "efficient well intervention program" which will cover Statoil's Statfjord, Gullfaks, Åsgard, Norne, and Heidrun fields, as well as the Tordis, Vigdis, and Borg developments operated by compatriot Norsk Hydro AS.
The project has been spurred by the anticipated declining economics of employing drilling rigs for well workovers on some 200 wells on these Norwegian offshore fields in the next few years. Subsea wells, which are responsible for some 60% of present Norwegian offshore output, are currently maintained with the aid of rigs already at work on drilling assignments in the relevant area.
"Permanent access to rigs and vessels is the best guarantee that the necessary equipment is available at all times to keep the wells in regular production," said project manager Arne Erichsen, adding that each of these wells needs a workover about every 4 years.
Although wells are still being drilled in most of the licenses covered by the project, this phase is expected to wind down starting in 2003, after which vessels will have to be specially hired for intervention and maintenance of the 200 subsea wells on these fields.
"The collaborating companies stand to gain substantially by concluding long-term charters for a combination of light units and rigs," said Erichsen.