Chevron Corp. UK subsidiary Chevron North Sea Ltd. has reached a final investment decision (FID) and received approval from the UK government to proceed with the development of the Alder field in the central North Sea. The project has a planned design capacity of 110 MMcfd of natural gas and 14,000 b/d of condensate. Production is slated to start in 2016.
Discovered in 1975, development has recently been enabled by innovative technologies to manage the high-pressure, high-temperature gas-condensate field, which lies on Block 15/29a in 492 ft of water about 100 miles from Scotland and 37 miles from the UK-Norway median line.
The field will be developed using a single subsea well tied back to the existing Britannia platform, a distance of 17 miles. The well will be drilled using Dolphin Drilling Ltd.’s Blackford Dolphin Aker H3 drilling rig, which is contracted to Chevron from mid-2015 for a multiwell program.
Produced fluids will be processed at a new dedicated module to be installed on the Britannia Bridge Linked Platform (BLP), which will be constructed by ConocoPhillips acting as substitute operator on behalf of Britannia Operator Ltd. Gas is exported to the Scottish Area Gas Evacuation (SAGE) terminal at St. Fergus.
“Our decision to proceed with this valuable asset was enabled by the right combination of technology, commercial conditions, and knowledge-sharing on high-pressure, high temperature experience,” said Craig May, managing director of Chevron upstream Europe. “Field development is also being assisted by the enhanced Small Field Allowance introduced by the UK government in 2012, which recognizes the importance of developing small fields in a mature oil and gas basin,” May said.
The UK’s Minister for Energy Michael Fallon added, “This is one of the most complex wells to be drilled in the North Sea. It has required the application of extremely complex technology, the majority of which is being provided by UK companies and is a showcase of British excellence.”
Alder was discovered in 1975 and has taken many years to bring to economic development. Chevron North Sea operates the project with 73.684% interest. Coventurer ConocoPhillips (UK) Ltd. holds the remainder.