Norwegian state-controlled Equinor will drill around 100 new wells at its North Sea Statfjord field in the next 10 years as part of a new plan to extend the field's life beyond 2035.
The firm said it will defer previous plans to decommission the Statfjord A platform by 2022, and will extend the field's life to 2027. The Statfjord B and C platforms will remain operational beyond 2035, 10 years longer than Equinor's previous plan. All three platforms will be upgraded.
Three other producing fields feed into Statfjord — Snorre, Sygna and Barnacle. Barnacle came on stream in December 2019.
Statfjord has been reprieved by a move towards mature North Sea assets being acquired by smaller, independent firms as long-term incumbent majors move on. ExxonMobil, which discovered the Statfjord field in 1974, sold all its Norwegian assets in September to Norwegian independent Var Energi for $4.5bn. New entrants into the sector often target smaller, near-field discoveries to extend the life of existing infrastructure — hence the extensive drilling programme now in place for Statfjord.
Statfjord has produced more than 5bn bl of oil equivalent since it came on line in 1979. It remains the biggest field ever discovered on the Norwegian continental shelf. Crude output peaked in 1992 and has declined significantly in recent years. Export loadings will be 53,000 b/d in February, according to the field's loading programme. Gas from the field is piped to Norway and the United Kingdom.
Var Energi holds a 21.4pc stake in Statfjord; Equinor has a 44.3.pc operating stake; independent Spirit Energy has 19.8pc and the balance is held by a few non-Norwegian companies.
By Ben Winkley