blackford dolphin

U.K. Government Gives Chevron Thumbs Up at Alder Field

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January 13, 2014

Blackford Dolphin, image: Dolphin Drilling

Chevron North Sea Ltd reached a final investment decision today and received approval from the U.K. Government to proceed with the development of the Alder Field in the Central North Sea. The project has a planned design capacity of 110 million cubic feet of natural gas and 14,000 barrels of condensate per day. First production is expected in 2016.

“Our decision to proceed with this valuable asset was enabled by the right combination of technology, commercial conditions and knowledge sharing on high pressure high temperature experience. Field development is also being assisted by the enhanced Small Field Allowance introduced by the U.K. Government in 2012, which recognizes the importance of developing small fields in a mature oil and gas basin,” said Craig May, managing director of Chevron Upstream Europe.

The U.K.’s Minister for Energy, Michael Fallon added: “This is one of the most complex wells to be drilled in the North Sea. It has required the application of extremely complex technology, the majority of which is being provided by U.K. companies and is a showcase of British excellence. Developments like Alder confirm the basin is still vibrant with many opportunities; however the future needs companies of the calibre of Chevron with the expertise and tenacity to drive these projects forward.”

The high pressure high temperature gas condensate field is located in Block 15/29a, in a water depth of 150 meters, approximately 160 kilometers from the Scottish coastline, and 60 kilometers from the U.K./Norway median line.

Chevron notes the field will be developed via a single subsea well tied back to the existing Britannia Platform in Block 16/26, a distance of 28 kilometers (17 miles), and the well will be drilled with the Blackford Dolphin semi-submersible, which is contracted to Chevron from mid-2015 for a multi-well program.

Produced fluids will be processed at a new dedicated module to be installed on the Britannia Bridge Linked Platform (BLP), which will be constructed by ConocoPhillips acting as substitute operator on behalf of Britannia Operator Limited. Gas is exported to the Scottish Area Gas Evacuation (SAGE) terminal at St Fergus.

Discovered in 1975, the Alder project has taken many years to bring to economic development. The development of the field has been enabled by innovative technology applications combining to meet the challenges of a high pressure, high temperature reservoir and exporting fluids a distance of 28 kilometers to the Britannia Platform. These include Chevron’s first high temperature high pressure vertical mono-bore tree, vacuum insulated tubing, a reeled 10”/16” pipe-in-pipe system and a High Integrity Pressure Protection System.

Some 75 percent of the development work will be executed in the U.K. Three major contracts valued at some £200 million were awarded to U.K. vendors during the course of 2013.

* Detailed engineering, procurement, installation and commissioning of the complete subsea system, including the main subsea manifold, subsea isolation valve manifold, 28 kilometers of pipe-in-pipe flow line, umbilical and tie-in spools, awarded to Technip. This work will be carried out in Aberdeen, Evanton and Newcastle.
* Design, manufacture and supply of two high pressure, high temperature (HPHT) vertical, subsea monobore trees and wellheads, awarded to OneSubsea UK Limited (formerly Cameron Limited) at their Leeds facility.
* Design, manufacture and supply of the subsea control system, including the hydraulic and electrical components to be installed both at subsea and on the Britannia Bridge Linked Platform (BLP), to Aker Solutions at their Aberdeen facility.

Chevron North Sea Limited operates the project and has a 73.684 percent interest, with co-venturer ConocoPhillips (U.K.) Limited (26.316 percent).

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