David KnottNorwegian state firm Statoil AS has started oil production from Åsgard field, which lies in 300 m of water in the Norwegian Sea.
The Åsgard project involves development of three fields with a production, storage, and offloading vessel for oil, a production semisubmersible for gas, a shuttle tanker to transport oil, and a new trunk pipeline to deliver gas.
Åsgard reserves are estimated at more than 2 billion boe, of which almost 60% is gas. The fields are expected to yield up to 200,000 b/d of oil, 100,000 b/d of condensate, and 1.3 bcfd of gas.
Both the geology of the fields and their development, which includes the world's largest and most intricate subsea infrastructure, are complex. This has been a factor behind reports that the project is likely to exceed its $3.67 billion budget by $2.19 billion (OGJ, May 17, 1999, p. 32).
Status updateBy presstime, three producers and three gas injection wells were operational after the May 19 statr-up.
A Statoil official told OGJ that production amounted to 33,600 b/d of oil, which is being processed and stored, and 106 MMcfd of gas which is mainly being reinjected.
During the summer, Statoil plans to increase the number of producing wells to eight and the number of gas injectors to six, which would enable an anticipated oil production of 150,000 b/d.
So far, 10 subsea templates have been installed, and three more are due in place this summer, while four more will be installed in the Midgard section of Åsgard next year.
While oil production is being ramped up to plateau, Statoil is working to deliver first gas on Oct. 1, 2000. The production semi is still in the shipyard in South Korea and due to arrive in Stavanger for fitting of modules in September.
Kvaerner AS is building the modules at its Rosenberg yard near Stavanger and has begun fixing some of these to the deck. The semi is due in the field in May 2000.
Meanwhile, said the official, gas export pipelines are being installed to transport gas from Åsgard as well as from nearby Norne, Heidrun, and Draugen fields. All are operated by Statoil except Draugen, which is operated by Norske Shell AS.
The official said that the Åsgard gas transport system, including output from the other fields, is expected to account for about 15% of Norway's gas exports to Europe, which are thought likely to amount to 50-60 billion cu m/year until about 2030.
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