By Bartolomej Tomić
Following years of delays and several set and missed start-up dates at Norway’s Yme field, there is now another first oil forecast – 2019.
The Yme field, which used to be operated by Talisman, had been slated for first oil production in 2010.
Talisman had taken over operatorship of the field in 2006. Worth noting, the field was initially developed in 1995 by Statoil. The production period lasted from 1996 to 2001, when the operation of the field was considered to be unprofitable.
Talisman then decided to take over the field and produce the remaining resources using a new jack-up production unit. This would have made Yme the first oil field on the Norwegian continental shelf to be redeveloped after having been shut down.
However, under Talisman’s operatorship, the field never produced a single barrel of oil, due to several delays and structural issues with the production platform.
The platform, Yme MOPUSTOR, with MOPU an abbreviation for Mobile Offshore Production Unit, had been delivered by Dutch SBM Offshore to produce oil from the field in the Norwegian sector of the North Sea.
However, following cracks found in the legs of the platform in 2012, the platform was abandoned, and the decision was subsequently made to remove and scrap the platform.
Spanish oil firm Repsol then took over Yme after buying Talisman in 2015. The Yme platform was removed by the giant Pioneering Spirit Vessel in August 2016.
Despite the setbacks, there is one company who seems to be eager to see the Yme development in production – OKEA.
New kid on the block
OKEA, run by Erik Haugane, a former CEO and the founder of Det norske oljeselskalp, and Ola Borten Moe, the former Norway Minister for Petroleum and Energy, was established in September 2015. The company then said its plan was not to drill and explore for new oil reserves but to focus on developing discovered oil and gas reserves offshore Norway.
A few months after the company’s inception, in January 2016, Okea said it had entered into a sale and purchase agreement whereby OKEA would buy Repsol’s 60 percent share in the Yme field following removal of the Yme MOPU and subject to OKEA submitting and obtaining the Norwegian authorities’ approval of an updated Plan for Development and Operation (PDO) for the Yme field.
Things then went quiet for a while, and in October 2016, OKEA bought a 10 percent share in the Yme license from Wintershall, which exited the project.
Wintershall then said that following the transaction, the equity ownership in PL 316 license was: Repsol Norge (operator) 60%, LOTOS E&P Norge 20%, Kufpec Norway 10%, and Okea 10%.
This meant that the transaction with Repsol had not been completed.
In an interview this week OKEA’s Ola Borten Moe said Okea no longer had plans to operate the project, and that the company would continue working on the project with Repsol as the operator.
According to e24.no, Ola Borten Moe said Okea planned to have a 45 percent in the field, without elaborating from which partner the additional 35 percent will come, and whether this was a part of the previously announced Repsol transaction.
E24 also cited Borten Moe, who said the revised development plan for the field could be filed in the summer. Asked about the expected start of production, he said: “probably not before 2019.”
However, as history has taught us when it comes to the Yme project, nothing can be said with absolute certainty.
Namely, E24 further brings a statement by Repsol who said it was evaluating future options for the field with the partners, “but we are not yet able to say whether this option will result in a PDO (Plan for Development and Operation).”