Maersk Oil completes Culzean jacket installation

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Maersk Oil CEO Gretchen Watkins at the final installation of the third Culzean jacket in the UK North Sea.

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The Maersk Oil operated high pressure, high temperature (HPHT) Culzean development in the UK North Sea has reached a key milestone with the safe installation of all three of the project’s jackets, on time and on budget.

The Culzean field lies approximately 145 miles east of Aberdeen and is estimated to produce between 60,000-90,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day (boepd) at plateau production and produce for at least 13 years.

“Culzean was sanctioned less than two years ago and already we’ve progressed the project over the halfway mark. We’re continuing to hit our milestones on time and this progress means we’re on track to deliver first gas in 2019. Nonetheless with a project of this size we can’t be complacent so we’re committed to ensuring remaining workscopes are executed safely and successfully,” said Gretchen Watkins, CEO, Maersk Oil.

The installation of Central Processing Facilities (CPF) and the Utilities and Living Quarters (ULQ) jackets was completed on 20 July, while the Wellhead Platform (WHP) jacket was installed last year. All three jackets were built by Heerema and installed using the Heerema Marine operated crane vessel; the Thialf.

“Completing the installation safely and on time is a great achievement when you consider the sheer scale of the structures involved; the combined weight of the jackets is over 22,000 tonnes,  the equivalent of  around 30 jumbo jets per jacket so we used the world’s largest crane vessel for the installation,” says Martin Urquhart, Culzean Project Director.

From the design phase we’ve been focused on future proofing the Culzean installation – these jackets have a design life of over 40 years, much higher than a typical jacket so will be comfortably capable of serving the duration of production.”

Across the project, progress is steady and on track to meet the next key milestones, Martin Urquhart concludes:

“With the foundation of the Culzean installation firmly in place and waiting, focus is now fixed on finalising the construction of the three topsides and the Floating, Storage and Offload (FSO) vessel Ailsa. We have just celebrated the completion of the deck stacking of the topsides and the sail away of these structures is on schedule for next year. Their installation will take us to the beginning of the hook up and commissioning campaign, the final step before first gas is delivered in 2019.”

Facts and figures

  • Maersk Oil is operator (49.99%) and coventurers are BP (Britoil) (32%) and JX Nippon (18.01%)
  • Discovered in 2008
  • Reservoir is around 4,300 metres below sea level; pressure is 13,500 psi and the temperature is 175°C
  • Water depth is approximately 88 metres
  • Capable of meeting 5% of UK gas demand by 2020/21
  • Gas will be exported via the CATS pipeline, coming onshore at Teesside