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BP mulls future of Foinaven

UK supermajor looking at choices for West of Shetland field

BP is in the early stages of considering options for the future of its Foinaven field in the UK West of Shetland area, which a senior official said could involve a redevelopment involving the installation of a new floating production, storage and offloading vessel.

Foinaven started producing from the Teekay Petrojarl-owned Petrojarl Foinaven FPSO in November 1997, the first deep-water development on the UK continental shelf.

BP regional North Sea president Ariel Flores said this week the UK supermajor is carrying out early conceptual studies looking at a number of possibilities, including extending the life of the existing and ageing FPSO or seeking a new purpose-built vessel.

“We are continuing to work with our partner Teekay to try to set a foundation for the future,” Flores said on the sidelines of the Offshore Europe 2019 conference in Aberdeen.

He pointed out that shutdowns of between 50 and 70 days per year had become common in recent years.

“That tells you to make this competitive we have got to fix this for the long term,” he said.

“Our reality today is that we have to shut down for prolonged periods to allow us to continue to produce. We want to see a future where that becomes less, as a consequence of more steady investment that increases our operating efficiency and increases our reliability," said Flores.

“As long as that happens, you will see the future of Foinaven continue to be prolonged.”

Flores mentioned that one possible solution could be to select a Sevan SSP-style circular unit similar to the units Siccar Point Energy aims to deploy at its Cambo field — also in the West of Shetland area — and Shell has selected for its Penguins field in the northern North Sea.

Flores said he believed the Foinaven field contains enough reserves to justify a redevelopment, without giving specific numbers, but said none of the options under consideration was “obvious”.

“We have a lot of concepts we are currently evaluating,” he said.

“There are barrels there but we know we have to produce them differently going forward.

“I think the reserves are absolutely there but today we do not have a line of sight based on our criteria to make it work (currently). We have got to work harder to make it work.

“I wish that I could say I had really solid ‘slam dunk’ projects but it’s not a reality. We have got to work hard to progress them.” This could include looking at different contracting models or alliances, he said, for how “we can achieve a better outcome”.

Earlier this year, the UK offshore safety regulator issued a stinging criticism of the safety culture on the vessel as it issued warnings following two serious gas leaks.

The Health & Safety Executive said the safety culture on the vessel before the leaks had been “based on trust and unwritten understandings at the cost of checks, balances and records”.

Teekay Petrojarl is dutyholder on the vessel, which is stationed 190 kilometres off Shetland.

Teekay Petrojarl was contacted for comment but had not replied by the time Upstream went to press.

Meanwhile, Flores said BP’s large Clair Ridge development in the UK West of Shetland area is currently producing about 40,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day after start-up late last year and was on track to reach peak production of about 120,000 boepd as planned within two years.

Work to bring on stream new producer and injector wells is going well, he said.

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