The paper will describe how a field discovered in 1977 moved from being an unattractive prospect, to the top of the Texaco North Sea UK Company portfolio by the twin drivers of new technology and a fresh look at development strategy leading to reduced development costs.
Although it was expected from an early stage that there was significant (approx. 1.5 billion bbls) oil in place, the reservoir characteristics were such that recoveries were anticipated to be low, and early conventional development plans called for over 200 development wells in more than 10 drilling centres. Unconventional thinking, an extensive appraisal programme and an extended well test in 1993 demonstrated that the field could be exploited using 6000ft horizontal wells and electric submersible pumps (ESP).
In parallel to the appraisal programme, the engineering and construction industry were solicited for ideas on how best to develop the first phase of the field. Three concepts were selected for front end engineering by three different contracting groups. The effort resulted in three different designs that were competitively tendered.
A phased economic development plan was devised to minimise drilling and facilities costs. Company sanction and final development option selection took place in the Autumn 1994 and detailed engineering began in October of the same year.
First oil is scheduled for late 1996, with revenues generated from the first phase to be used to develop a second area of the field at the end of the century.