Contracts Signed for Fram East Development

Initial field development contracts had been signed before Hydro's plan for development and operation (PDO) for the Fram East satellite field in the North Sea was submitted to Norway's Ministry of Petroleum and Energy. From boring of wells through pipeline tie-in and new Troll C processing infrastructure, the Fram East development project will cost an estimated NOK 4.6 billion.

Fram East will be developed as a satellite field, using two well-head templates installed on the seabed, in waters 360 meters deep. The wellstream will be piped 20 kilometers south for processing at the Troll C platform along with oil from Fram West.

"Because Fram East production is scheduled for 31 October 2006, every stage of development is extremely time-critical," says Bjørn Hjermann, Fram East Development project leader.

"By that date, all subsea installations and pipelines must be finished, modifications to the Troll C platform must be completed, and wells must be producing." Hjermann continues, "To meet the tight deadline we've picked tested solutions and proven technologies."

Three major contracts signed
Kvaerner Oilfield Products was awarded the first Fram East development contract in December 2004 for the field's subsea equipment.

In February, two more major contracts were entered into. The contract for modifications to Troll C processing facilities was awarded to Aker Kvaerner Offshore Partner AS, and Leirvik Module Technology signed a contract to expand the Troll C housing module, increasing its capacity from 70 to 100 beds for platform crews.

"The Ministry of Petroleum and Energy hasn't objected to our awarding several contracts before submitting the PDO," Bjørn Hjermann notes. "It's vital to start field work as planned; it's in everyone's interest that Troll area infrastructure is utilized in the best way."

Typical next-generation approach
Fram East is representative of the way many upcoming North Sea licenses will be developed. These are marginal fields for which independent field development is not commercially viable.

"As a satellite field of the Troll C platform, however, the Fram East field will become a valuable resource that makes efficient use of the existing infrastructure," Hjermann explains.

Field development gets underway in June, with installation of the two subsea templates. In the summer of 2006, two pipelines and a control cable will be laid to connect the well-head templates to the Troll C platform. After that, drilling begins.

"Fields such as Fram East represent the future on the Norwegian Continental Shelf. Linking of subsea production units to larger-sized platforms is occurring more frequently," comments Johan Kr. Mikkelsen, the chief of Oil & Energy's Troll business area, which includes the Fram region.

According to Mikkelsen, once Fram East field development is completed, both water and gas injection will be available for Fram reservoir management. "Future development projects will benefit from this infrastructure," he points out.

Mikkelsen praises the Fram partners for excellent cooperation and their contributions that allow for adaptable development. "Our field development plan can be readily expanded. Fram East infrastructure can be extended easily, and at low cost, by adding two more templates to exploit other Fram structures," Mikkelsen says.

Fram East facts

  • Location: 20 kilometers north of the Troll C platform

  • Water depth: 360 meters

  • Subsea templates: Two well templates located on the seabed

  • Wells: Five production wells, two water injection wells, and one free well template slot for future use, as necessary

  • Pipelines: Two 12-inch pipelines transport the wellstream 20 kilometers to the Troll C platform. A pipeline linking the new well templates with Fram West infrastructure will also be laid.

  • Production start-up: 31 October 2006

  • Estimated recoverable resources: approximately 60 million barrels of oil and 2 billion cubic meters of gas

  • Investments: Field development costs according to the PDO are NOK 2.4 billion, plus NOK 1.4 billion for the drilling program. Including interest, insurance, and project reserves investments will total NOK 4.6 billion.

  • Troll C platform modifications: Accommodations module expanded from 70 to 100 beds, processing facilities modified to handle Fram East wellstream

  • Partners are Hydro as operator with 25%; ExxonMobil with 25%; Statoil with 20%; Gaz de France with 15%; and Idemitsu with the remaining 15%.

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