The Transocean Searcher drilling rig has started drilling the first of a total of 13 production wells on the Gjoa field in the North Sea. The rig will drill nine oil wells and four gas wells.
"The first well to be drilled on Gjoa is an appraisal well in the northern segment," said vice president Kjetel Digre.
"The information gathered here will be important when we are going to look at the overall plan for wells and drainage strategy for Gjoa."
Gjoa is located in the Sogn area. With this development, a new part of the North Sea is being opened for oil and gas production.
The Vega and Vega South satellites will be developed with subsea installations and tied back to Gjoa. The total development of Gjoa, Vega and Vega South is currently the largest development project on the Norwegian continental shelf.
Up to 2012 the Transocean Searcher rig will be involved in drilling and completion activities on the field.
At the same time, field preparations will be made, including tie-in of pipes and cables to the platform.
"Since the area is located close to land, we must take into account the shipping traffic in the area among other elements," points out Digre.
StatoilHydro will have close to 20 vessels in operation in the Gjoa area during 2009.
"The project group believes that the overall coordination will be one of the main challenges in the time to come," said Digre. "We are well underway in our planning of these operations."
The Gjoa reservoir itself has thin zones that will be drained. According to Digre this will involve drilling of relatively demanding wells, of which several will be multilateral.
"We have a drilling and completion team which has been planning the drilling start on Gjoa for a long period of time," said Digre.
"Both we and the supplier are eager to get started. Even if there will be challenges in the time ahead, I know that the tools, rig and organization are highly prepared."
Vega is Important
The activity will also be high on Vega and Vega South in 2009. The subsea systems on both satellite fields will be tested early in the year.
In the second quarter the subsea templates will be installed. At the same time pipes will be laid, structures will be installed and tie-ins will be carried out. When the subsea systems are ready, drilling can start as scheduled in July 2009.
The Gjoa field will be developed with a semisubmersible platform and five subsea templates. The topside will be constructed in Korea and shipped to Stord where the living quarters will be built.
The Gjoa platform will be assembled in the summer of 2009. Towing to the field and production start-up is scheduled for 2010.
Gas will be transported in a 130 kilometer-long pipeline to the British pipeline Flags for further transport to Scotland. The oil will be transported in a 55-kilometer pipeline to the Troll field in the North Sea and sent in the Troll II oil pipeline to the StatoilHydro-operated Mongstad refinery north of Bergen.
The oil and gas pipelines will be laid in 2009. A power cable supplying electricity to Gjoa from the mainland will be installed in 2009 and tied to the platform in 2010.
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