Tromsø unitization deal finalized

Seven licensee groups involved in the Tromsø patch development in the Barents Sea today struck a unitization deal that will see redistribution of interests in the three-field licence off northern Norway. According to Tromsø operator Statoil AS, the agreement, which encompasses the Snøhvit, Askeladden, and Albatross gas-condensate discoveries, will give the Norwegian oil company a 34.29% share in the complex, as well as the state's direct financial interest of 30%.


LONDON�Seven licensee groups involved in the Tromsø patch development in the Barents Sea today struck a unitization deal that will see redistribution of interests in the three-field licence off northern Norway. According to Tromsø operator Statoil AS, the agreement, which encompasses the Snøhvit, Askeladden, and Albatross gas-condensate discoveries, will give the Norwegian oil company a 34.29% share in the complex, as well as the state's direct financial interest of 30%.

Under the redistribution, the development licensees will hold the following interests: TotalFinaElf SA, 18.4%; Norsk Hydro AS, 10%; Amerada Hess International Ltd., 3.25%; RWE-DEA AG, 2.61%; and Svenska Petroleum Exploration AB, 1.24%. The unitization deal also built in new voting rules "to secure efficient planning and decision-making," said Statoil.

Statoil's Kai Bjarne Lima said the unitization would provide licensees with "a common goal for future work" in developing the first of these fields, Snøhvit, where current thinking revolves around a subsea production concept with gas-condensate transported to the Melkøya treatment and liquefaction facility onshore near Hammerfest. A final plan for development and operation of Snøhvit is scheduled for submission to the Norwegian authorities next summer.

Proven gas reserves on the Tromsø patch stand at 320 billion cu m.

Veslefrikk shutdown
Meanwhile, "serious" corrosion damage affecting several of the separators on the B floating production unit yesterday forced Statoil to shutdown its Veslefrikk field in the Norwegian North Sea. The discovery was made on Aug. 4 during a planned maintenance program, reported the oil company.

First assessments, according to operations manager Annas Bollman, suggest the corrosion was the result of "long-term intrusion of salt water into the insulation around the separators." Experts from Statoil's inspection core team are surveying the damage before recommending corrective measures.

Statoil said repairs would coincide with modification work on the gas compressors, due to take place this week and next. The shutdown is expected to last until Aug. 20.

Veslefrikk came on stream in 1989 as the first development off Norway to use a floating production unit. Before the shutdown the field was producing at a rate of 40,000 b/d via a fixed steel wellhead platform, Veslefrikk A, and the semisubmersible Veslefrikk B. Recoverable reserves at Veslefrikk stand at 342 million bbl of oil and 9.6 billion cu m of gas.

Statoil received better news from its Åsgard development with word that the installation of the field's subsea production facilities is in the home stretch. With 52 wells spread over 16 templates knitted together by some 300 km of flowlines, Åsgard's 7 billion kroner subsea development is one of the largest of its kind in the world. Roughly 115 km of umbilicals have been laid at the field to control power supply, control signals, and hydraulics, as well as some 157 km of 3-in. service lines to carry methanol and glycol.

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