After years of delays, the Yme field in the North Sea offshore Norway, now operated by the Spanish oil firm Repsol, has started producing oil, again.
The Yme is a field in the southeastern part of the Norwegian sector of the North Sea, 130 kilometers northeast of the Ula field, sitting in a water depth of 77-93 meters.
The field was discovered in 1987. With Statoil (now Equinor) as the operator at the time, production started in 1996 and ceased in April 2001, a period during which the field had produced 50.3 million barrels of oil.
Years later, Canada's Talisman then attempted to redevelop the field using an SBM Offshore supplied mobile offshore production unit. However, the project was halted after Talisman found structural integrity issues with the platform, and in 2013, a decision was made to remove the platform and scrap it.
Spain's Repsol then took over the operatorship of the troubled field, after taking over Talisman in 2015. SBM's Yme MOPUstor platform was removed by the Pioneering Spirit vessel in 2016.
The Norwegian authorities in March 2018 approved Repsol's amended plan for development and operation for the redevelopment of Yme with a goal to bring the field online in 2020, using Maersk Drilling's Maersk Inspirer jack-up drilling and production platform for five years, with a five-year extension option. However, the COVID-19 pandemic caused further delays, with the first oil date spilling over into 2021.
In a statement on Monday, Repsol has confirmed that the first oil had been achieved from the YME field, located in the Egersund Basin, approximately 130 km from the Norwegian coastline.
"Achievement of first oil is a true testament to the lean operations of the Yme New Development project, made possible through the use of new technology and innovation, building a profitable project even when faced with the unprecedented challenges during the Covid-19 pandemic," Repsol said.
Tomás García Blanco, Executive Managing Director of Exploration and Production at Repsol said: "This achievement is a demonstration of how collaborating, flexible and hard-working organizations have managed to tackle challenges and reestablished value generation from the Yme field. Yme will provide a significant contribution to Repsol’s oil and gas production. I would like to thank all internal and external stakeholders for your hard work and dedication throughout the Yme New Development project."
Repsol Norge is the operator of the Yme field with a 55% working interest. Partners in the Yme licence are Lotos Exploration and Production Norge AS (20% working interest), KUFPEC Norway ASA (10% working interest), and OKEA ASA (15% working interest).
The Yme New Development Project consists of the engineering, procurement, construction, and installation of a new wellhead module on top of existing facilities at the Yme field, the modification, and upgrading of the Mærsk Inspirer jack-up drilling and production Unit, all made at Aker Solutions’ Yard in Egersund, prior to installation in the field and subsequent hook-up to existing wells and installations on the seabed offshore.
Repsol Norge AS has, as operator of the Yme field and on behalf of the Yme license partners, entered into an agreement to acquire the rig through a bareboat charter agreement with Havila Sirius AS and take over the day-to-day operations of the jack-up rig Mærsk Inspirer from Maersk Drilling.
According to OKEA, the Mærsk Inspirer handover process has now started and it is expected that the transaction will be closed during the fourth quarter.
"The reorganization of operations and ownership of the Mærsk Inspirer will provide significant operational and cost improvements and additional cash flow benefits around NOK 300 million net after-tax to OKEA over the next nine months," OKEA said.