Equinor Restarts Production From Njord Following Upgrades

Equinor Restarts Production From Njord Following Upgrades
Production from the Njord field resumed on December 27, following an upgrading project in which both the platform and the FSO were brought ashore.

Production from the Equinor-operated Njord field in the Norwegian Sea resumed on December 27, following an upgrading project in which both the platform and the FSO were brought ashore.

Equinor said in a statement that the field was back on stream, ensuring secure and stable energy supplies to Europe.

Both the platform and the FSO have undergone extensive upgrades, and the project has a Norwegian content of more than 90 percent. Aker Solutions has had the main responsibility for the platform engineering and upgrading. Brevik Engineering has carried out the engineering work for the FSO, which has been upgraded by Aibel.

“I am proud that we and our partners, Wintershall Dea and Neptune Energy, have now got this truly unique project across the finish line. This is the first time a platform and an FSO have been disconnected from the field, upgraded, and towed back, and we have now doubled the field’s life.”

“It has been a big and challenging job, partly performed during a pandemic, and I want to thank everyone who has contributed. The Njord field will now deliver important volumes to the market for another two decades," says Geir Tungesvik, Equinor's executive vice president for Projects, Drilling, and Procurement.

Coming on stream in 1997, the Njord installations were initially designed to remain in operation until 2013. However, there were large volumes left in the ground, in addition to discoveries nearby, such as Hyme which came into operation in 2013, and others that can be produced and exported via Njord.

The platform and FSO were brought ashore in 2016 after 19 years of production. In 2017 and 2018, upgrading contracts were awarded for the two installations. The Njord A platform was upgraded at Stord, where it was constructed in the 1990s. The Njord Bravo FSO was inspected prior to the upgrade and prepared for tow-out in Kristiansund, while the refurbishment was carried out in Haugesund.

“Our ambition is to produce about the same volume from Njord and Hyme as we have produced so far, more than 250 million barrels of oil equivalent," says Kjetil Hove, Equinor's executive vice president for Exploration and Production in Norway.

It is worth noting that 10 new wells will be drilled at Njord from an upgraded drilling facility. Also, new discoveries have been made at the outer edges of the field and more exploration will be carried out in the surrounding area. The platform and FSO are prepared to receive production from two new subsea fields – Bauge and Fenja – with a total of 110 million barrels of recoverable resources.

The Equinor-operated Bauge and Neptune-operated Fenja have been developed in parallel with the upgrading of the Njord installations.

“This is illustrative of our strategic work on the NCS to extend the fields’ productive life and tying back new discoveries to existing infrastructure while reducing the climate footprint from the production," says Hove.

According to plans, the Njord field will in a few years receive power from shore via the Draugen platform in the Norwegian Sea and be partially electrified. This will reduce the annual CO2 emissions by about 130,000 tons.

Equinor added that production from the Njord field was initially supposed to resume two years ago. However, the upgrading project has been more challenging than expected, and the project was hard hit by the Covid-19 pandemic.

This has also put upward pressure on costs. Capital expenditures total were over $3.1 billion, compared with the original $1.7 billion in the plan for development and operation. However, the project is profitable with oil prices far lower than today.

The Njord licensees are Wintershall Dea with a 50 percent stake, the operator Equinor Energy which holds 27.5 percent, and Neptune Energy holding the remaining 22.5 percent.

To contact the author, email bojan.lepic@rigzone.com

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