One of Europe's largest producing fields, Wytch Farm is situated in Dorset, one of the most environmentally sensitive areas of the UK. To ensure that due consideration is given to all ecological and environmental issues, BP produces the field from on-shore, using carefully planned development techniques which are hidden from public sight and which won the Queen's Award for Environmental Achievement in 1995.
As part of the ongoing development of Wytch Farm, BP requires data from a 3D marine seismic survey around Poole Bay in Dorset. As well as environmental sensitivities, the survey presents a number of other significant challenges, such as the need to work in very shallow (5m) water. BP invited tenders from a variety of suitably qualified companies, but decided that the bid from Multiwave was the only one to meet the full range of requirements.
In order to work within the constraints of available water-depth, a shallow-draft vessel was obviously required. Also, to minimize the time required to complete the survey, it was important that dual streamers, with a 50m separation, were used. Multiwave's operational solution to this was thought by BP to be the most technically viable, and Multiwave is rigging a vessel specially for the survey.
David Buddery, Operations Geophysicist at BP said, "As is normal at BP, we carefully evaluated a number of bids, all differing in some degree. As well as the technical challenges, the successful tender needed to demonstrate an ability to work to BP's strict HSE standards. It was clear that in consideration of the tenders received, Multiwave was the only company which could satisfy our requirements in all ways."
"This is yet another project which shows our ability to design custom solutions to highly specific and demanding briefs," commented Rick Donoghue, Multiwave's International Sales Manager. "We have an international reputation for innovation, and contracts such as BP's Wytch Farm are a further endorsement of that reputation."
Wytch Farm is Europe's largest on-shore oil field in one of the most environmentally sensitive areas of the UK. It is in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, featuring Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), Special Protection Areas, Heritage Coastline, Ramsar sites (designated wetlands of international importance, particularly for supporting birds, as agreed at Ramsar, Iran 1971), National Trust land and National Nature Reserves.
This could only be achieved through close co-operation and openness with the surrounding communities. Tourism around Poole Harbour and the Isle of Purbeck is a major provider of income to the locality and it has been important to ensure no adverse effects on the amenity use of the area during any of the development phases. Local liaison committees were formed to consult fully with all statutory and non-regulatory bodies and local residents are kept informed of relevant activities. Wytch Farm oil field comprises three separate oil reservoirs which lie under Poole Harbour and Poole Bay in Dorset.
The Bridport reservoir is 900 meters below the surface and lies above the Sherwood reservoir which extends eastwards under Poole Bay at a depth of 1600 meters. Further exploration discovered the 7.5 million barrel Frome reservoir in clay/limestone at 750 meters.
Total estimated recoverable reserves have risen to 457 million barrels of which over 90% lie in the Sherwood reservoir making it the sixth largest in the UK.
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