Statoil: Gudrun Proj. On Schedule

The steel jacket for the Gudrun field operated by Statoil in the Norwegian North Sea was named on June 22 at Kværner Verdal in mid-Norway.

The champagne bottle splashed "holy" water from the Ol spring over bright yellow steel when it was broken during the traditional naming ceremony at the yard.

Performing this deed was Jørgen Suul, a Kværner Verdal employee who had proposed the name Idun for the structure.

"Today's ceremony marks an important milestone on the way to starting production in 2014," said Anders Opedal, senior vice president for projects in Statoil.

Discovered in 1974, Gudrun has had to wait for 40 years before being converted from find to producing field.

"We've take a long time to understand this reservoir, which is complex and demanding," explained Jan Einar Malmin, Statoil's venture manager for the field.

With high pressure and temperature, the formation still hides secrets. Its name can actually mean "hidden knowledge" in Old Norse.

The plan for development and operation (PDO) estimates recoverable reserves at 132 million barrels of oil equivalent – but this figure is by no means set in stone.

Systematic work will be needed to reach it, said Malmin. "The gap between the highest and lowest forecast is unusually wide in Gudrun's case."

New technology, greater knowledge of the area and re-use of existing offshore infrastructure have finally made it possible for Statoil and partner GDF Suez to develop the field.

"This is an important milestone in the project for meeting the target of a production start-up on 2014," said Carl Otto Hauge, head of non-operated licenses at GDF Suez.

"Gudrun is a very important project for us, and underscores our presence on as well as our long-term commitment to and investment on the Norwegian continental shelf."

To maximize Gudrun's value, the project team is pursuing two main strategies – tackling sub-surface uncertainty and securing future production, and reducing development costs.

"Cost efficiency and secure development are goals for all our whole portfolio," said Opedal. "With our strong focus on costs and time, good planning and ownership of these plans are crucial."

And Gudrun is on schedule, he noted. "We'd planned to name the jacket at the end of June. That's now been done, and the structure will soon be towed out to the field."