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Equinor Starts Up Major $7.7B Oil Field In UK North Sea

Norwegian energy giant Equinor announced on Thursday first oil from the Mariner oil field in the UK North Sea whose start-up has been delayed twice over the last year due to technical issues.

Mariner’s operator Equinor and its partners began oil production from the field which is estimated to have a total of 3 billion barrels of oil in place and which took gross investments of more than US$7.7 billion to develop.

Production at Mariner is expected to average around 55,000 barrels of oil per day (bpd) and up to 70,000 bpd at peak production, the Norwegian oil and gas major said.

“With the significant volumes in place, we see clear potential to further increase the oil recovery from the Mariner field and will proactively seek opportunities to do so through the application of new technology, additional drilling and future tie back opportunities,” said Anders Opedal, executive vice president for Technology, Projects and Drilling in Equinor.

Mariner, discovered in the early 1980s, was sanctioned for development in 2012, before the oil prices crash two years later.

The start-up of the major oil field was delayed two times in the past year. In October 2018, Equinor said that “challenging weather conditions” would prevent it from starting up the field in the fourth quarter of 2018 and pushed the start-up date into 2019. Then in April this year, Equinor pushed back the start-up to the second half of this year in order to check all electrical couplings on the platform.

Commenting on the Mariner start-up, Mike Tholen, Upstream Policy Director at the industry association Oil & Gas UK, said:

“The Mariner field will contribute towards energy security for the next 30 years. With up to three billion barrels of oil in place, it contributes to industry’s shared ambition Vision 2035 – which looks to meet as much of the UK’s oil and gas needs from home-produced resources as possible.”

The field start-up comes amid an exodus of major U.S. oil and gas firms that have recently sold assets in the UK North Sea to focus on the faster-cycle U.S. shale.

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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