The concept chosen for the Mariner heavy oil project on the UK continental shelf includes a production, drilling and quarter (PDQ) platform based on a steel jacket, with a floating storage unit (FSU).
Statoil expects a final investment decision in late 2012 and first oil in late 2016. The Bressay heavy oil project on the UK continental shelf is also progressing according to plan, one year behind Mariner, to ensure transfer of learning and synergies. The Mariner and Bressay projects were presented at a press briefing by Statoil’s executive vice president for Development and Production International, Peter Mellbye, at SPE Offshore Europe 2011 in Aberdeen.
“After a period of uncertainty, I am proud to be able to say that we are back on track with the landmark Mariner and Bressay developments. To be able to once again move these projects forward is important for Statoil and its partners, as well as for the UK and for the Aberdeen region,” says Mellbye. The ultra-heavy oil projects will require pioneering technology in order to be developed. Since its discovery thirty years ago, the Mariner field has been subject to a number of development studies by different operators. Statoil is the first company ready to put forward a development concept that will fully address the complexities of this field, in particular related to reservoir management, recovery rates and project execution. Statoil has extensive heavy oil experience, including the successful development of the Grane field in Norway and the Peregrino field in Brazil.
Because of the low well flow rates and early water break-through there is a need for many wells, artificial lift, and a process designed to handle large liquid rates and oil-water emulsions. A total of 145 reservoir targets for production or injection are planned for Mariner. While the number of well slots at the platforms is less, this will be solved through use of multi-branch technology, sidetracks and reuse of slots. The Mariner and Bressay projects will entail a gross investment of roughly GBP 6 billion. Statoil estimates lasting employment of at least 700 individuals, mainly locals, directly involved in its operations, and the establishment of a new operations centre in Aberdeen. The indirect employment of numerous others in the supply and service sectors comes in addition to this.