Serica is still looking for an alternative export solution for its North Sea field, after BG Group last year decided not to move ahead with the construction of a Bridge Linked Platform neighboring the BG operated Lomond field.
The Bridge Linked Platform was to be part of the export route for gas and gas condensate from the Columbus field.
“Although 2013 produced unexpected challenges, particularly with BG’s cancellation of the Bridge Linked Platform, we have actually been able to move the bulk of our projects forward and ended the year in a strong position. Our main challenge remains to resolve the conundrum of an export route for Columbus but we have options and are receiving support,” Serica Chairman Tony Craven Walker said today.
It has been eight years since Serica made the gas discovery at the Columbus prospect in the central part of the North Sea offshore UK.
BG’s decision to cancel the Lomond Bridge Linked Platform project in early 2013 was a major setback for the Columbus project, Serica said. The focus of the technical work for the rest of the year was switched to identifying and securing a new offtake route for Columbus.
For Serica, the preferred technical solution now is for a direct subsea tie-back to the existing Lomond facilities which are less than 8km away from Columbus. Technical work has shown that this solution is feasible and that the capital expenditure required is appropriate for a development of this size, Serica adds.
However, so far, Serica has been unable to agree commercial terms for the transportation and processing of Columbus production on the Lomond platform.
Related: BG Won’t Build Lomond BLP (UK)
“Progress has been slow although dialogue is continuing with BG International Limited (the operator of the Lomond infrastructure), the Department of Energy and Climate Change (“DECC”) and other stakeholders in the area,” Serica added in a report, saying that other options are also under consideration.
Tony Craven Walker added: “We have striven hard to achieve this objective and have been in continual discussions with the Lomond field operator throughout the past few months but we have yet to reach a satisfactory conclusion. As I have said previously there are no technical impediments to connecting Columbus to the adjacent Lomond platform. We have, nevertheless, extended discussions to other operators who can also take the gas and liquids.”
In December last year, Department of Energy and Climate Change, granted a two year extension to the licence containing the Columbus discovery, giving more time to Serica secure a commercially viable offtake route for the field.
The Columbus field, containing gas rich in condensate, extends from Block 23/16f into Block 23/21 to the south, operated by BG International Limited (“BG”). Block 23/21 includes the Lomond platform and the producing Lomond field. Serica has a 50% interest as operator in Block 23/16f and will be the operator for Columbus field facilities with an interest of 33.2%.