The UK oil and gas industry has been struggling for a couple of years, ever since the oil price fell. Oil and gas contractors and companies have been taking measures such as redundancies and decommissioning in the last few months to reduce their operating costs. However, trends reveal that the coming year will be better for the industry, and this may hold some substance as Statoil has started production drilling in the UK North Sea.
The oil producer revealed that it has started predrilling operations at the Mariner field, which will see the company drilling up to five oil wells. Next summer, the company will establish and commission the Mariner A platform. It is anticipated that the first oil from these oil wells will be available sometime in 2018.
Statoil Production UK Managing Director Hedda Felin stated that the company is very happy to move from final planning to actual offshore production. She said that production drilling ensures that the oil reaches the plateau quickly.
Felin explained that the production drilling would allow the company to get a better understanding of the reservoir and also pinpoint the positives that can be put to good use in any future well that Statoil drills. She confirmed that environment safety and protection was extremely important to the organisation, and due care was being taken to ensure that the environment is protected.
It is believed that the company has targeted up to 100 reservoirs for drilling at the Mariner oilfield over its lifetime. Initially, the company will drill five oil wells before the topside modules are erected in the middle of 2017.
Statoil is working with two oil and gas contractors – Schlumberger and Noble Drilling – to ensure that the operations are carried out safely and in a cost-effective manner. It is estimated that the production drilling will create 500 jobs in the UK Continental Shelf.