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Pipeline link opens for two North Sea fields

This story was updated at 12 p.m. Mar. 5.

By OGJ editors
HOUSTON, Mar. 5 -- Petrofac Ltd. has begun transporting oil by pipeline from West Don and Don Southwest fields in the UK North Sea to the Thistle platform, operated by Lundin Petroleum AB, 12 km south.

The fields, 150 km northeast of the Shetland Islands, had been producing into shuttle tankers loading from a single anchor leg mooring system. The Northern Producer floating production vessel remains on the field for processing and production.

At Thistle, Lundin installed a flexible riser hang-off platform to accommodate the pipeline. Thistle delivers oil into the Brent pipeline system.

With the pipeline available, Petrofac brought on stream the second production well at Don Southwest, a sidetrack of the P-02-DR2z well. Removal of the Transocean John Shaw semisubmersible drilling rig allowed a dive support vessel to complete water-injection tie-ins at the field. Injection has begun.

The fields came on stream last year—West Don in late April and Don Southwest in late June. Their production totaled about 3 million bbl through yearend. In December Petrofac said it expected combined production from the fields to rise this year from 15,000 b/d to a peak about twice that level.

The fields produce from Middle Jurassic Brent sandstones, at 3,200-3,500 m. Water depth in the area is about 500 ft.

Petrofac said the John Shaw will return in the second quarter for a second phase of Don Southwest drilling. It operates both fields and holds a 60% interest in Don Southwest and a 27.7% interest in West Don.

Petrofac and Lundin have announced plans to combine their UK North Sea assets into a new company called EnQuest (OGJ Online, Mar. 4, 2010).

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