First production from the Viking fields began in 1972 and at its peak a total of 13 platforms produced at rates up to 950 million cubic feet per day from 20 wells and was supplying 12% of the United Kingdom’s natural gas requirements. In addition, several prospects were drilled in the early 1970’s but, due to disappointing results, were viewed as un-economic and consequently were not pursued for development.
Since discovery in the late 1960’s of the Viking A and B fields and associated satellites, exploration and appraisal within the Viking contract area has identified five possible new gas accumulations named the Viking Extensions. Appraisal of these extensions commenced with the remapping of the Viking contract area with proprietary 2D seismic data acquired in 1983 and 1987, supplemented with traded seismic data from adjacent block operators.
However it was only the re-negotiation of the gas sales contract and the removal of the Gas Levy in 1992 that provided favourable marketing conditions for the development of additional Viking gas production and initiated the current appraisal programme for remaining reserves. This programme began with acquisition of a 3D seismic survey in 1993 and these data and subsequent drilling have resulted in very promising initial results. It is expected that as this latest evaluation of the Viking extensions and remaining exploration prospects reaches it’s full conclusion, between 750 and 1000 Bcf of additional gas reserves will have been realised. This will provide the opportunity for many more years of renewed life from one of the oldest producing areas in the North Sea.