Statoil starts Gullfaks fields oil production

Uchenna Izundu
International Editor

LONDON, Feb. 8 -- Statoil ASA has begun oil production from its Skinfaks field and has implemented improved oil recovery techniques to boost oil output from Rimfaks field. Both lie in the Gullfaks license in the Tampen area of the Norwegian North Sea.

The fields are expected to make up 12% of Gullfaks license production when all wells go on production this fall. Gullfaks produced 130,000 b/d of oil during third quarter 2006.

A Statoil spokesman told OGJ that four of the horizontal wells were completed using the downhole instrumentation and control system (DIACS) to enhance oil recovery at Rimfaks. "Rimfaks production before the IOR project was approximately 17,000 b/d of oil and condensate," he said.

DIACS increases oil production from existing wells by monitoring down-hole physical properties and correcting them remotely if the conditions are unfavorable.

Rimfaks production was improved by tying back several wells to the Gullfaks C platform. The field was developed in June 2000 as a satellite, with the wellstream tied back to the Gullfaks A platform.

Skinfaks, which was proved in 2002, comprises several smaller structures from the Brent group geological formation. It was developed with a subsea production system tied in to existing xmas trees on Gullfaks South satellite field.

Lars Christian Bacher, senior vice-president for the Tampen business cluster, said, "By combining Skinfaks development with several Rimfaks wells, we've achieved an economic development of two satellites which individually would have been marginal… The project secures good exploitation of the Gullfaks area infrastructure, with small investments."

Both projects cost $535.8 million to develop, and recoverable reserves are estimated at 62 million boe for Skinfaks and the IOR part of Rimfaks. The recovery ratio for Rimfaks will increase by 36-47% with Skinfaks-Rimfaks IOR.

Statoil said, "When all project wells are completed, Rimfaks IOR and Skinfaks production will represent around 35% of the Gullfaks license's oil production via the Gullfaks C platform."

Statoil is operator of the Gullfaks license with a 61% share. Other licensees are Petoro AS 30% and Norsk Hydro SA 9%.

Contact Uchenna Izundu at uchennai@pennwell.com.

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