Shell restarts UK North Sea Pierce field following redevelopment to enable gas production

May 1, 2023

Shell plc subsidiary Shell UK Ltd. completed restart operations at Pierce field in the UK Central North Sea following an upgrade to allow gas to be produced after years of the field producing only oil, the operator said in a release Apr. 18.

Modifications were made to the Haewene Brim floating production, storage, and offloading (FPSO) vessel, which is used to produce hydrocarbons at the field. To enable the upgrade, the FPSO, which is owned and operated by Pierce Production Co. Ltd., a Bluewater company, stopped producing in October 2021. It spent 6 months in dry dock where it was transformed into a vessel that could also produce gas, which had previously been re-injected into the reservoir.

A new subsea gas export line was installed, connecting to the Shell-Esso Gas and Associated Liquids (SEGAL) pipeline system, which brings gas ashore at St Fergus, north of Aberdeen.

Gross peak production is expected to reach 30,000 boe/d, more than twice the production prior to redevelopment, with more gas being produced than oil. The gas will be sent through newly installed subsea pipelines and the oil will be transported by tanker, as was the case prior to the redevelopment project.

Pierce field lies in Block 23/22a about 165 miles (265 km) east of Aberdeen, Scotland, in water depths of around 262 ft (85 m). It was discovered in 1975, with oil being produced since 1999. A final investment decision to redevelop the field was made in 2019. 

Pierce is a joint venture between Shell companies (Enterprise Oil Ltd., a Shell UK Ltd. subsidiary, as operator with 92.52% interest) and Ithaca Energy (UK) Ltd. (7.48%.). Ithaca acquired its non-operated working interest in the field from Sumitomo Corp. in July 2014.