Next Phase of Schiehallion Development Moved Back to 2004

BP has deferred the next phase of its North Sea Schiehallion oilfield development until 2004 after encountering gas during drilling, a company spokesperson said. The Phase 4 of development, initially slated to bring onstream another 30,000 barrels per day (bpd) of output in July, has now been put on hold.

"We experienced some gas and had to put the drilling on hold while we looked at the data," she said in a statement. "It will take some time before making a decision to move forward. We probably won't know much before the end of the year."

The Schiehallion oilfield, located west of the Shetland Islands, was discovered in the early 1990s to hold 250-500 million barrels of recoverable oil. Production commenced from the field in July 1998. The field produces around 120,000 bpd and is loaded via shuttle tanker at Scotland's Sullom Voe terminal. So far gas produced at Schiehallion has been used for fuel or reinjected.