LONDON, Jan 21 (Reuters) – The first gas production from Britain's Laggan-Tormore gas condensate fields off the Shetland Islands in the North Sea is expected to start "in the coming weeks", a Total spokesman said on Thursday.
Operator Total is developing the two fields off the Shetland Islands in Scotland at a cost of about 3.3 billion pounds ($4.7 billion). Production was expected to begin more than a year ago but experienced delays.
"We are certainly hoping for first gas in the coming weeks," a Total spokesman said.
Flaring has started, with gas taken from more northern North Sea fields for use in the start-up process.
"We have finished construction and are moving towards starting up as soon as is safe and practicable," the spokesman added.
The project is expected to have a peak production rate of around 14 million cubic metres (mcm) per day.
The last new large gas field in Britain, called Jasmine, came online in 2013. It had initial production of around 2 mcm/day, rising to around 7 mcm/day by around 6 months later.
Britain's oil and gas output has fallen by about two thirds since 2000 as production has declined from ageing infrastructure.
Hopes for a revival have been pinned on significant capital investment over the past few years by oil and gas majors in new projects off the Shetlands and in field life extensions.
Total has a 60 percent stake in the project, while Dong E&P holds 20 percent and SSE E&P the remaining 20 percent.
($1 = 0.7069 pounds)
(Reporting by Nina Chestney; Additional reporting by Nerijus Adomaitis in Oslo; Editing by Mark Potter)
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