Volve Module Leaving Thailand for Norway

The large process module for the Statoil-operated Volve field in the North Sea has been completed. Its journey will now take it from the yard in Thailand to Haugesund, western Norway.

"The module will be installed on Maersk Inspirer, the world's largest jackup rig," says Svein Loining, project manager for the Volve field.

The 3,500-tonne process module and 500-tonne wellhead module will now be shipped with the Eide Transporter vessel from Thailand.

Eide Transporter is expected at the Vetco Aibel yard in Haugesund around October 20th. Before that, Maersk Inspirer will carry out essential modifications and reinforcements at the yard so that the module can be installed on the platform. The tow out to sea and drilling commencement is planned for the beginning of 2007.

"With such a large installation, we are very dependent on the weather," Mr. Loining emphasizes. "We're therefore unable to be more precise about when the tow will take place."

Plans call for the platform to start production during the second quarter of 2007.

Statoil has a contract with Maersk Contractors for platform and process facility hire while Maersk have a contract with Vetco Aibel in Norway. Costs and fully-booked yards in Norway resulted in Vetco Aibel choosing to produce the module at their own yard in Thailand.

The recoverable reserves in Volve are estimated at 70 million barrels of oil and 1.5 billion standard cubic meters of gas. The gas will be sent to the Statoil-operated Sleipner A platform for final processing and export. The oil will be transferred to the Navion Saga storage vessel, hired by Teekay Norge.

"The export pipelines and loading buoy were installed in the summer," says Mr. Loining. "Now only the covering of the pipelines remains before both the platform and storage vessel can be installed at the field."

The field has a life expectancy of four-five years and total development and operation costs are estimated at NOK 7 billion.

Statoil is a driving force behind the development and production of small fields based on mobile installations. Volve is the third largest field the group is developing on the Norwegian continental shelf based on this concept.

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