Norway’s Equinor has submitted plans to develop one of the largest oil producing fields on the Norwegian Continental Shelf (NCS) into a substantial gas producer while also significantly reducing CO2 emissions.
The Oseberg field, operated by Equinor with a 49.3% stake, is the third largest oil producer ever on the NCS. Oil production is in its tail phase, but 60% of the gas resources are still in the ground. When it comes to gas, Oseberg is also one of the major fields, with only Troll and Snøhvit having more remaining gas resources on the NCS.
Under the NOK10bn ($1.1bn) plan, two new compressors will be installed to boost recoverable gas volumes, and the Oseberg Field Centre and Oseberg South platform will be partially electrified. The work on the platforms will see three modules totalling 3,400 tonnes installed. Rebuilding of the Oseberg Field Centre will take four years, and Oseberg South around one year. This will be done while the plants are in full operation. Plans call for the start-up of the new facility in 2026.
For the year 2020, Oseberg emissions totaled around 1m tonnes of CO2. Since 2010, emissions at Oseberg have been reduced by around 15%, and Equinor and its project partners plan to further reduce emissions by 50-70% by 2030 with the new compressors and electrification from shore.
“With this investment, we open a new chapter of the story of Oseberg, which is about to become one of the main Norwegian gas producers. We expect Oseberg to produce more than 100bn sm3 of gas towards 2040. In terms of energy, the annual gas export from Oseberg will equal a quarter off all Norwegian hydropower,” said Geir Sørtveit, Equinor’s senior vice president for exploration and production west.
It is estimated that more than 70% of the investments in the Oseberg upgrades will go to suppliers in Norway. Aibel has been awarded a contract worth more than NOK4bn ($445m) for partial electrification of the Oseberg Field Centre and Oseberg South, as well as upgrading of the gas processing capacity on the Oseberg Field Centre. Nexans has won a subsea cabling contract estimated at more than NOK800m, while Heerema Marine Contractors and Skanska Norge have been hired for transport and installation and construction of a substation, respectively. In addition to Equinor, Oseberg project partners include Petoro with a 33.6% stake, TotalEnergies 14.7%, and ConocoPhillips with 2.4%.