Vilje Starts Up Production in the Northern North Sea

StatoilHydro reports that on August 1, the first oil flowed from the Vilje field to the Alvheim FPSO.

The Vilje field is located in the northern part of the North Sea in block 25/4 on the Norwegian Continental Shelf, north of the Heimdal field. StatoilHydro is the operator of the field, with a 28.85 percent interest. Partners in the field are Marathon Petroleum Norge AS with 46.9% and Total E&P Norge AS with 24.24%. Marathon is the operator of the Alvheim FPSO with 65%. Vilje is the first StatoilHydro-operated field on the Norwegian continental shelf (NCS) tied in to an installation that is run by another operator.   

The field development concept includes two subsea templates and two production wells. Oil from Vilje is piped in a new 19-kilometer pipeline to the Alvheim FPSO, which is operated by Marathon Petroleum Norge AS.

Exciting Area

The oil from Vilje is brought up naturally without any form of stimulation. The field is connected to a giant water zone and water injection will therefore not be required.

Former field analyses have confirmed the existence of high quality sand with undersaturated oil. The recoverable reserves at Vilje are estimated at 52 million barrels of oil, and the production is expected to reach a plateau of 35,000 barrels per day by the end of second quarter 2008.

Effective Forms of Operation

In order to administer the natural resources in an optimal way it is also essential that StatoilHydro continuously evaluate the operations of existing and new oil and gas fields.

"Vilje is one of several small-size fields where we get a chance to test new forms of operation. This field is StatoilHydro's first development without tie-in to an installation operated by the company. The oil is transported to the Alvheim FPSO for further processing," says asset manager Vidar Nygård Karlsen.

Alvheim FPSO

The Alvheim FPSO has a nameplate capacity of 120,000 barrels per day of oil and 125 million cubic feet per day of natural gas with total storage capacity of 560,000 barrels of oil. Throughput capacity is expected to reach as much as 134,000 barrels per day. Located about 140 miles (224 kilometers) from Stavanger, Norway, the Alvheim development includes subsea infrastructure consisting of four drill centers and associated flow lines. The development provides for the transportation of produced oil by shuttle tanker, and transportation of produced natural gas to the existing U.K. SAGE system using a new 14-inch, 24-mile cross border pipeline. The Alvheim purpose-designed FPSO vessel takes advantage of the latest technology for low emission gas turbines – a first for the Norwegian Continental Shelf.

The combined Alvheim/Vilje development is expected to reach a rate of 75,000 net (120,000 gross) boepd by the first quarter of 2009, according to Marathon.

"We are currently developing the nearby Marathon-operated Volund discovery and expect to tie this into the Alvheim FPSO during 2009, as capacity becomes available," said Kristin Farovik, managing director of Marathon Petroleum Company (Norway), a wholly owned subsidiary of Marathon. "In addition, we have several exploration prospects in the area with the potential to sustain a longer peak production for the Alvheim FPSO."