Equinor Prepares for Norwegian Field Closure
Norwegian state oil company Equinor is preparing to close the Veslefrikk oil and gas field after more than 30 years of production, it said on February 22.
The field, which has yielded over 400mn barrels of oil equivalent during its life, is on track to shut down in the spring of 2022, Equinor said. It was discovered in 1981 and was brought on stream in 1989. It was the first project on the Norwegian continental shelf to use a floating production unit.
Output at Veslefrikk peaked in 1995 at over 81,300 barrels of oil equivalent/day of liquids and 410mn m3 of gas, but by last year it had fallen to 5,150 boe/d and 120mn m3.
Equinor and Veslefrikk's other partners, currently Petoro, Repsol and Wintershall Dea, have invested some Nkr 20bn ($2.35bn) in the field, and its production life has been extended several times. Under its first development plan, the field was due to cease activity as early as 2009.
An environmental impact assessment has been undertaken, and a decommissioning plan was sent to authorities last autumn. The plugging of the field's 24 wells began in January, with Archer supplying rig operations and Baker Hughes and Ardyne most other drilling and well services.
Platform systems must also be shut down and cleaned, and pipelines cleaned and disconnected. The floating Veslefrikk B semi-submersible production platform will be towed to shore for dismantling in the autumn of 2022, while the Veslefrikk A fixed wellhead platform will be removed in 2025-26. Equinor will award contracts for work on Veslefrikk A in the first half of 2021, it said.