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Shell Reassesses Development Plan for North Sea Fram Field

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LONDON - Royal Dutch Shell PLC is reassessing its development plan for the Fram oil and gas field in the North Sea following "unexpected" initial drilling results, the company said late Thursday.

Shell had planned to produce an average of 35,000 barrels of oil equivalent a day from the field, with first production targeted within the next three years.

"Development drilling for the Fram field began last year but early assessments have shown unexpected well results. Development drilling will continue for the next several months and the results will inform a revised strategy for Fram," Shell said in a statement posted on its website.

Shell and its partner in the joint venture Esso Exploration & Production UK Ltd., a unit of Exxon Mobil Corp., is continuing to evaluate the potential of the Fram reservoirs, with a view to producing an alternative development plan for the field, Shell said.

Shell has already cancelled an order with SBM NV for a floating production storage and offloading vessel, or FPSO, that was to be used in the Fram project.

The Fram field is located 220 kilometers east of Aberdeen and 50 kilometers west of the median line between the U.K. and Norway in a water depth of approximately 100 meters.

Copyright (c) 2012 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.

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