Eni's Arctic Field off Norway Hit by New Delays


OSLO, Sept 28 (Reuters) - Italian oil major Eni faces further delays in the development of its Goliat oilfield in the Arctic and has yet to obtain permission from Norwegian authorities to start production, the company and an industry regulator said on Monday.

The first oilfield to be developed in the Arctic, Goliat has been hit by several cost overruns and delays during construction, but Eni said last month it was only a few weeks away from producing its first barrels.

"There is still some work left to do at Goliat," Petroleum Safety Authority spokeswoman Eileen O'Connell Brundtland said. "As long as that remains unfinished, the authority will not give its consent, which is required to start operations."

The company said it was sure that production will start later this year, rejecting a media report that output from the floating production, storage and offloading (FPSO) unit could be delayed until 2016.

"We're in the final phase of installation. Some of this has taken longer than expected," Eni spokesman Andreas Wulff told Reuters. "We will complete the remaining work in a safe and prudent way."

Asked if output will start in 2015, Wulff said "yes". He declined to give a specific timeline.

The cost of Goliat has so far surged to 46.7 billion crowns ($5.47 billion) from an original estimate of around 30 billion seen in 2009, when the development plan was approved by authorities.

When the field comes on stream, it would become the world's northernmost producing offshore oilfield, the operator has said, with output expected to peak at some 34 million barrels of oil per year.

ENI has a 65 percent stake in the field while its partner Statoil holds the remaining 35 percent.

(Reporting by Terje Solsvik and Ole Petter Skonnord; Editing by Michael Perry and Louise Heavens)


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