Shell & Esso Begin Production from New North Sea Field

Shell U.K. Limited (Shell) and Esso Exploration and Production UK Limited, an ExxonMobil subsidiary, announce the production of first gas from the Carrack natural gas field in the Southern North Sea on November 30, 2003.

Greg Hill, Production Director for Shell Exploration and Production in Europe, said: "We are delighted that first gas has been transported from the Carrack field to the U.K. mainland. Government approval for the £150 million project, which will provide jobs in the North Sea for the 15 – 20 year field life, was only received in February this year, so we are pleased this has progressed so well in such a short time. Development of the field has made further use of the nearby Sole Pit Clipper complex while also providing new infrastructure. In time this new infrastructure can be used to facilitate development of more marginal fields in the Southern North Sea, in line with UK Government and industry efforts to reduce fallow acreage."

The project has been developed around a central 'hub' platform located over the Carrack field from which three wells will be drilled in 2003/2004, with the capacity for additional wells should they be required. The second smaller platform is installed adjacent to Shell's Sole Pit Clipper platform complex to act as a reception facility for the Carrack gas production. The new platforms will facilitate tiebacks of any future marginal fields in the surrounding area. Similarly, the 85 km Carrack pipeline is suitable to 'tie-in' potential exploration discoveries as well as stranded gas fields along its evacuation route.

Carrack lies in a relatively remote area 120 km northeast of Bacton off the North Norfolk coast, close to the UK/Dutch median line. It has reserves of around 300 billion cubic feet of gas which will be exported via an 85 km pipeline to the existing Sole Pit Clipper complex, and from there to the Bacton Natural Gas Terminal. The peak rate will be approximately 160 million standard cubic feet of gas per day.