Equinor will start production from the Aasta Hansteen field in the autumn of 2018 after it received the start-up approval from the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate (NPD) on Friday.
The NPD said on Friday that the consent for the start-up of Aasta Hansteen was granted to the licensees in production licenses 218 and 218 B.
The licensees in Aasta Hansteen are Equinor, as the operator, with 51 percent while Wintershall, OMV, and ConocoPhillips hold 24, 15, and 10 percent respectively.
The field is developed with a SPAR platform which is the world’s largest and Norway’s first such platform. A platform is a floating installation with a vertical cylindrical hull anchored to the seabed.
Kalmar Ildstad, NPD’s assistant director of development and operations for the Norwegian Sea, said: “Start-up of Aasta Hansteen opens the door for gas production from a completely new province in the northern Norwegian Sea. After the project was approved by the Storting [Norwegian parliament] in 2013, several other interesting discoveries have already been made in the area.
“A development of these resources will naturally make use of the Aasta Hansteen facility for gas processing and transport. The production from the Aasta Hansteen field and other discoveries in the area will, therefore, contribute to ensuring long-term gas export from the Norwegian Shelf in the years to come.”
The Aasta Hansteen field set several records during its development. “Never before has equipment been installed on the Norwegian Shelf at a depth of nearly 1300 meters. The SPAR platform is the first of its kind in Norway and the largest in the world with its 70,000 tonnes. The facility is also the first in the world with a condensate storage tank,” NPD said.
In related news, NPD gave consent to Equinor last week to start production from the Oseberg H platform in September.
Aasta Hansteen is located some 320 kilometers west of Bodø. Water depth in the area is 1270 meters.
The platform is developed with two subsea templates, each with four slots, and two subsea templates with one slot each (satellites) are placed on the seabed. The drilling of wells is still not complete, but a total of eight production wells will ultimately be drilled.
According to the NPD, investment costs for development of the field are expected to amount to around NOK 37.5 billion, which is within the range of uncertainty indicated in the plan for development and operation (PDO).
The Snefrid Nord discovery, made in 2015 in production license 218, has been included in the Aasta Hansteen development, subsequent to the PDO. The expected investment cost is just under NOK 1 billion.
Equinor estimates the expected recoverable reserves for Aasta Hansteen, including Snefrid Nord, at 55.6 billion standard cubic meters (Sm3) gas and 0.6 million Sm3 condensate. Gas from Aasta Hansteen will be transported in the Polarled pipeline to the Nyhamna terminal in Møre og Romsdal for further export to the United Kingdom. Produced condensate will be loaded onto tankers and shipped to the market.