Production has finally started from Norway’s first Arctic oil field, at the Goliat floating production facility in the Barents Sea.
The 180 MMbo field, the first producing oil field in the Barents Sea and the northernmost producing oilfield, will produce 100,000 b/d once all 22 of its subsea wells (12 production and seven water and gas injection wells) are on stream. Currently, 17 wells have been completed.
The 360-420m water depth project is based on a powered-from-shore, via subsea cable, cylindrical floating production facility, sitting 85km northwest of Hammerfest, offshore northern Norway. The 107m diameter, 64,000-tonne, 1 MMbo storage capacity Sevan 1000-design FPSO, moored using 14 anchor lines, was built by Hyundai Heavy Industries in South Korea. It was designed to be manned by about 40 staff and to be operated out of Hammerfest.
It was originally scheduled for start-up in Q4 2013, but has suffered a string of set backs, from weather delays to “increasing complexity” on the production platform, and bust its budget. According to Reuters, in August 2015, the project costs had surged to NOK 46.7 billion (US$5.62 billion) from an original estimate of around NOK 30 billion in 2009, when the development plan was approved.
Most recently the Petroleum Safety Authority insisted Norwegian partner Statoil completed verification on the unit before it would allow production to start. Before this, the PSA rapped Eni for nonconformities around logistics of materials handling and transport.
Despite its issues, the project has been an exercise in using new technologies, from the power from shore link – resulting in the longest subsea power cable of its type in the world, enabling the facility to be powered using hydro-power - to using simulation modeling to optimize deck layout and crane movement on the FPSO, as well as making the unit fit for use in an Arctic environment.
The field was discovered in 2000 in Production License 229. Eni holds a 65% stake (as operator) in Production License 229. The Norwegian company Statoil holds the remaining 35%.
Eni has been in Norway since 1965. It has interests in exploration licenses and producing fields, including Ekofisk, Norne, Åsgard, Heidrun, Kristin, Mikkel and Urd, with a total production in 2015 of 106,000 b/d.