The platform, installed in 420 feet of water, is part of a $1.1 billion development encompassing multiple hydrocarbon accumulations. The project involves drilling up to 24 wells by 2006, with peak production from the platform estimated to be more than 80,000 barrels a day of oil and 28 million cubic feet per day of natural gas.
The Ringhorne platform, designed with technological and environmental advances for efficient operation such as low-emission, dual-fuel turbines, a closed flare system and downhole injection of produced water and drill cuttings, is tied back to a Floating Processing, Storage and Offloading (FPSO) vessel at the nearby Balder field. Ringhorne installation began in early 2002, with topside placement completed in August. The facility has living quarters for up to 110 workers.
Esso is operator and has sole ownership of the project, which is located approximately 110 miles southwest of Stavanger and encompasses North Sea license blocks 25/8, 25/10 and 25/11. The Plan of Development and Operations for Ringhorne was submitted to Norwegian authorities in November 1999, and this project is recognized as a "fast track" project on the Norwegian Continental Shelf.
Ringhorne is the fourth Esso-operated field in the Sleipner/Utsira High area of the Norwegian sector of the North Sea to begin production. The company currently operates the Balder and Jotun fields, which have been producing since 1999. In addition, Esso started up the Sigyn field, a subsea gas/condensate development, at the end of December 2002.
Two other developments offshore Norway, the Grane and Fram West projects (ExxonMobil interest, 26 and 25 percent respectively), are progressing, with startup scheduled for later this year. Grane and Fram West are expected to add an additional 260,000 barrels of oil per day and 70 million daily cubic feet of natural gas. A third field, Mikkel, in which ExxonMobil has a 33 percent interest, is also due to begin production late this year, adding gross volumes of approximately 25,000 oil barrels and 175 million cubic feet of gas a day. Mikkel is located off the northern coast of Norway and will be tied back into the existing Aasgard development.
These projects underscore ExxonMobil's strategy on the Norwegian Continental Shelf of developing new resources using existing infrastructure to maximize economic development.
"The U.K. and Norwegian sectors of the North Sea continue to represent important components of ExxonMobil's production portfolio," said Rex Tillerson, senior vice president of Exxon Mobil Corporation. "Our reserve and production additions in the North Sea will continue to contribute to our company's profitable, long-term growth."
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