Shell's North Sea Field Restarts Production after Major FPSO Upgrades

Credit: Credit: Arjen/AdobeStock
Credit: Credit: Arjen/AdobeStock

Oil major Shell said Tuesday it had completed the restart of operations at the Pierce field in the UK North Sea.

The Pierce field lies around 165 miles (265km) east of Aberdeen, Scotland, in water depths of around 262 feet (85m). It was discovered in 1975, with oil being produced since 1999.

The restart comes following a significant upgrade to the Haewene Brim FPSO to allow gas to be produced after years of the field producing only oil. Pierce is a joint venture between Shell companies (operator, 92.52%) and Ithaca Energy (UK) Limited (7.48%.)

"Substantial modifications were made to the Haewene Brim floating production, storage and offloading vessel (FPSO), which is used to produce hydrocarbons at the Pierce field. A new subsea gas export line was also installed, connecting to the SEGAL pipeline system, which brings gas ashore at St Fergus, north of Aberdeen," Shell said.

Shell Upstream Director, Zoe Yujnovich, said:"We took this investment decision in 2019, and it is now increasing locally produced gas right at the time when this additional supply is critically important for the UK’s energy security. It’s a source of huge satisfaction when projects like Pierce come to fruition.”

To enable the upgrade, the FPSO, which is owned and operated by Bluewater, stopped producing in October 2021. It then spent six months in dry dock where it was transformed into a vessel that could also produce gas, which had previously been re-injected into the reservoir. 

Peak production is expected to reach 30,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day, which is more than twice the production prior to the redevelopment, with more gas being produced than oil. The gas will be sent through newly installed subsea pipelines and the oil will be transported by tanker, as before. 

 

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