Total produces first gas from Culzean field in North Sea

French oil major Total has started up production from the Culzean gas condensate field located on Block 22/25a, 230 kilometers off the coast of Aberdeen, in the UK.

Installation of Culzean topsides. Source: Total

The Culzean field lies in Block 22/25 in the central North Sea’s East Central Graben.

Announcing the field start-up on Tuesday, Total said that, with a plateau production of 100,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day (boe/d), Culzean will account for around 5% of the UK’s gas consumption, bringing to 18% the proportion of the country’s gas demand supplied by Total.

“The Culzean project is delivered ahead of schedule and more than 10% below the initial budget, which represents Capex savings of more than 500 million dollars. This has been achieved thanks to the excellent performance of the project teams in charge of the construction and drilling operations,” stated Arnaud Breuillac, President Exploration & Production at Total.

“Culzean is a good example of our efforts to upgrade our portfolio in the North Sea over the last years, notably by bringing Total and Maersk Oil together. The Culzean field is located in the Central Graben area, close to the Elgin-Franklin fields, also operated by Total, thus generating synergies.”

Discovered in 2008 by Maersk Oil, the Culzean field contains resources estimated between 250 and 300 million barrels of oil equivalent. The project includes the drilling of six wells, the construction of three bridge-linked platforms and of a Floating Storage and Offloading (FSO) unit. Gas from Culzean is exported via the CATS pipeline and the UK National Grid whilst condensate is stored in the FSO for offloading by shuttle tanker.

Total operates Culzean with a 49.99% participating interest, alongside BP (32%) and JX Nippon (18.01%).

 

Culzean shows there is still appetite for big developments in UK

 

Commenting on the start-up of Culzean, Glenn Morrall, a research associate with Wood Mackenzie’s North Sea upstream team, said: “Once the field hits peak in the early 2020s, Culzean could account for more than 10% of the UK’s gas production.

“The project was brought on stream ahead of schedule and under budget, with Total shaving $500 million off the development costs since it was sanctioned in 2015. Development costs now sit at around $4.5 billion.”

Morrall added: “Culzean is the third UK project to start production this year, but the biggest by a long way. It shows that there is still appetite for big developments in UK waters.

“There is some risk, though. Culzean gas is HP/HT, which makes it more challenging to operate successfully. However, Total brings a wealth of experience in operating HP/HT fields, for example at the nearby Elgin-Franklin fields.

“For the French major, production from Culzean will play a big part in it being the biggest UK gas producer for the foreseeable future.

“The UK continues to deliver for Total, with the Culzean news following on from recent exploration success as an operator at Glendronach and partner at Glengorm.”


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