DTI gives go-ahead to Blake Flank oil development in UK North Sea

Britain's Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Aberdeen, has approved the £60 million Blake Flank development in the UK North Sea.

By OGJ editors

HOUSTON, Nov. 12 -- Britain's Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Aberdeen, has approved the £60 million Blake Flank development in the UK North Sea. BG Group is field operator, with a 44% ownership interest, and its partners Talisman Energy UK Group and Paladin Resources PLC, London, hold 53.6% and 2.4% respectively.

First oil production from Blake Flank, which is an extension of BG-operated Blake field in the same production license, is scheduled for third quarter 2003. Facilities will include two production wells and a single water injector tied into the existing Blake production manifold.

The appraisal well on Blake Flank was spudded Sept. 17, 2001, and was followed by the testing of two zones and a sidetrack program. Tests at the first zone, over the Coracle Formation, flowed 2,450 b/d on a 56/64-in. choke. The second test was designed to determine the productivity of the overlying Captain sands; it flowed 3,000 b/d on a 1-in. choke (OGJ Online, Nov. 8, 2001).

"Blake Flank has taken only 1 year to progress from the final appraisal well to project sanction, and is a prime example of just-in-time development at its best," said Jon Wormley, BG Group executive vice-president for the UK. "In using existing infrastructure to extend the life of the original field, it is also a testament to best contemporary working practice in the North Sea."

Blake Flank lies 64 miles from Aberdeen in the Outer Moray Firth, directly northeast of, and immediately adjacent to, Blake oil field—originally known as Blake Channel—which started production June 27, 2001. Blake field, which has estimated gross field reserves of 70 million bbl of oil, produced an average of 40,000 b/d during 2001.

Due to the increased oil production rate of the combined development, the economic life of Blake field is expected to be extended by 2 years.

"It is encouraging to see so many North Sea operators looking afresh at their assets, and finding new and economic ways to exploit the UK Continental Shelf," Energy Minister Brian Wilson said, "With reserves at over 20 million bbl over 10 years, the Blake Flank development will make a welcome addition to existing UK production."

The subsea controls contract has been awarded to Kværner Oilfield Products AS, and subsea valve assemblies to Cameron Cooper Corp.

BG currently is evaluating tenders for the drilling unit and subsea engineering, procurement, installation, and construction contract, and is expected to announce award details soon.

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