Golden Eagle starts production

November 3, 2014

China's CNOOC has announced first oil on the US$3.3 billion UK North Sea Golden Eagle Area Development (GEAD). 

The development, comprising separate production and wellhead platforms and two subsea production systems, is producing about 18,000bbl/d and is expected to ramp up to 70,000bbl/d in full production next year.  

Image: The GEAD facilities with the Ensco 120 jackup alongside. Photo from Nexen/CNOOC. 

A total of 15 production wells and six water injection wells will eventually be drilled from the GEAD facilities, in blocks 20/1S, 20/1N and 14/26a, 70km northeast of Aberdeen, 89-139 average water depth. 

Golden Eagle is the second largest oil discovery in the UK North Sea since 2001, when the giant Buzzard field was discovered. 

The project, which includes the Peregrine and Solitaire fields, is operated by Nexen Petroleum UK, a previously independent oil company that was acquired by Chinese national oil company CNOOC for US$18 billion in February 2013. 

Image: The Golden Eagle field location. From CNOOC. 

Work on Golden Eagle put Nexen in the second spot, behind BP, as one of the busiest operators on the UK Continental Shelf in terms of contracting activity, according to the Energy Industry Council's August contracting activity report. 

For the Golden Eagle Area Development the company has placed 12 major contracts (four front end engineering and design, seven engineering procurement and construction, one Subsea/SURF) since January 2010.

The 13,191.98-tonne production, utilities and quarter (PUQ) deck left Lamprell's Jebel Ali yard in Dubai in April. 

Sembmarine SLP build the 2000-tonne, 140-person living quarters module at its facility in Lowestoft, with sailaway in May this year.

Image: The GEAD facilities during installation, using Saipem's Saipem 7000. Photo from Nexen/CNOOC.

Heerema Fabrication Group completed construction of the two 6500t jackets for Golden Eagle last year at its Vlissingen fabrication facility. 

Li Fanrong, CNOOC's CEO, said: "GEAD was delivered on schedule, on budget, and to world-class safety standards. The GEAD supported in excess of 2500 jobs in the UK and makes a significant production contribution to the company in the near future." 

Nexen is operator of GEAD with 36.54% interest, alongside partners Maersk Oil North Sea UK (31.56%), Suncor Energy UK (26.69%) and Edinburgh Oil and Gas (5.21%).

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