This search has been prompted by a recognition that the field is probably more complex than previously thought. Kristin could face a total cost increase of NOK 1-2 billion if a modified drainage approach is approved. A new drainage strategy will boost condensate recovery and thereby revenues.
"Work on the actual platform is well on schedule, and it will be delivered and installed as planned," reports Nina Udnes Tronstad, operations vice president for Kristin.
The riser balcony and living quarters, built in Spain and Sweden respectively, are due to be transported to the Aker Stord yard south of Bergen this month. They will be hooked up to the other modules during March. Aker Stord is currently building the process and utility modules for the platform.
Statoil has decided to transfer 100-200,000 working hours from riser balcony fabricator Dragados to Aker Stord in order to maintain the original installation plan at Stord. That kind of move is not unusual in major projects, and the contract with the Norwegian yard takes account of this eventuality.
The awarding of the contract to Dragados remains the best solution for the Kristin partners.
Ms Tronstad emphasizes that the most complex aspects of the Kristin development are the subsea systems and the reservoir itself. Involving a substantial degree of technology development, the seabed installations are demanding and the fabrication schedule is tight.
"We feel confident that contractor Aker Kvaerner will meet our requirements," Ms Tronstad says.
The complex reservoir has called for continuous discussion on the appropriate drainage solution, with longer, more horizontal but more expensive wells seen as one solution.
The strategy will be resolved by the licensees during March.
The cost estimate for the Kristin project in its plan for development and operation is NOK 17.1 billion.
Kristin is due to start producing gas as planned on October 1, 2005.
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