From increased reserves at Hebron Field to updated offshore decommissioning rules, below is a compilation of the latest headlines in the E&P space. 

Activity headlines

C-NLOPB OKs Hebron Change, Ups EUR Estimate

Hebron began production in 2017. (Source: HebronProject)

A change to the Hebron Field development plan has been approved, the Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board (C-NLOPB) announced on Dec. 15. 

The amendment will allow Exxon Mobil and its partners to develop sands within the Jeanne d’Arc Formation that were not covered in the original Hebron development plan.

As part of the plan amendment for the Hebron Field review, C-NLOPB reassessed the EUR and contingent gas estimates for the Jeanne d’Arc Formation as well as Pool 1 and the Hibernia Formation

In 2012, the proven and probable (2P) EUR for the Jeanne d’Arc Formation was 132 MMbbl, but following reassessment, the 2023 2P EUR is set at 165 MMbbl, C-NLOPB said.

In 2012, the 2P EUR for Pool 1 was set at 560 MMbbl, revised up to 296 MMbbl in 2023. The 2012 2P EUR for the Hibernia Formation was 15 MMbbl, revised up to 58.9 MMbbl in 2023.

Exxon Mobil operates Hebron Field with 35.5% interest on behalf of partners Chevron with 29.6%, Suncor Energy with 21%, Equinor Canada Ltd. with 9% and Oil & Gas Corp. of Newfoundland and Labrador with 4.9%.

Alvheim Back Online after Unplanned Downtime

Aker BP aims to produce 1 Bbbl through the Alvheim FPSO in the North Sea. (Source: Aker BP)

Aker BP said Dec. 18 the Alvheim Field in the North Sea has resumed production following unplanned downtime due to technical problems. 

A malfunction in new equipment installed during maintenance activities has been resolved. The downtime caused deferral of about one month in the production from the Alvheim area. 

During the restart of operations after the shutdown, approximately 50 cubic meters of oil leaked in the sea. The authorities were notified, oil spill response measures were implemented and no environmental harm has been reported because of the incident, Aker BP said.

Aker BP aims to produce 1 Bbbl through the Alvheim FPSO. In October, the Kobra East & Gekko project was the second of three planned tiebacks to begin producing to the Alvheim FPSO.

Contracts and company news

Equinor Upping Stake in HP/HT Linnorm Find

Equinor will acquire Shell’s equity in and operatorship of the Linnorm discovery in the Halten area of the Norwegian Sea, Equinor announced Dec. 14

Under the deal, Equinor will acquire a 30% interest in PL 255 covering the Linnorm discovery, conditional on taking over the operatorship from A/S Norske Shell. The deal is expected to close during the first quarter of 2024.

The HP/HT Linnorm discovery in 300 m water depth in the Norwegian Sea was proven in 2005 and delineated in 2007. It is the largest undeveloped gas discovery on the Norwegian Continental Shelf, Equinor said. Linnorm holds an estimated 25 Bcm to 30 Bcm of recoverable gas resources, which Equinor said is more gas than remaining reserves in each of the producing fields Aasta Hansteen, Martin Linge and Gina Krog.

PL 255 partners are: A/S Norske Shell with 30%, which is the operator until the transaction is completed; Petoro with 30%; Equinor Energy with 20%; and TotalEnergies EP Norge AS with 20%.

Shell, APA, YPF Snag Uruguay Acreage

Offshore Uruguay acreage. (Source: ANCAP)

Shell, APA and YPF have signed on for acreage offshore Uruguay.

Administración Nacional de Combustibles, Alcoholes y Portland (ANCAP) said Dec. 12 the exploratory period in their respective areas has now begun for three companies. 

APA’s acreage is the OFF-6 area, while Shell signed for the OFF-2 and OFF-7 areas. YPF has OFF-5.

ANCAP President Alejandro Stipanicic said in a press release that with these deals, all areas offshore Uruguay have current contracts after Challenger Energy signs a contract pending approval by the executive branch for OFF-3.

Aker BP Extends Odfjell Rig

Aker BP extended the firm contract for the Deepsea Nordkapp by two years through the end of 2026, Odfjell Drilling Ltd. announced on Dec. 15.

The Deepsea Nordkapp is a sixth-generation harsh environment and winterized semi-submersible. The extension starts Jan. 1, 2025, in direct continuation of the current firm contract period. 

The contract value for 2025 has a floor and ceiling day rate, resulting in a contract value of $124 million to $146 million, and the contract value for 2026 is approximately $179 million, which will be adjusted annually based on an inflation formula.

FPSO Pitting Corrosion Patch Available

(Source: MODEC)

MODEC Inc. and Toray Industries Inc. have jointly developed a carbon fiber-reinforced plastic patch technique for repairs on FPSOs and FSOs, the companies announced Dec. 18.

The technique will be available to patch pitting corrosion repair from 2024 without interrupting oil and gas production on the vessels, the companies say. The American Bureau of Shipping has approved the technique for repairing areas with diameters of up to 300 mm that have suffered damage from pitting corrosion.

Trendsetter Wins Trion Manifold Contract

Woodside Energy awarded Trendsetter Engineering Inc. a contract to provide several subsea manifolds with foundations, valves and connection systems for the Trion project offshore Mexico, Trendsetter announced Dec. 18. 

The detailed engineering phase kicked off in 2022.  

NOAKA OBN Survey Imaged

TGS said Dec. 15 it had completed the imaging phase for the priority area of the NOAKA ocean bottom node (OBN) multi-client seismic survey in the Norwegian North Sea.

TGS has applied its OBN processing and imaging technology, including dynamic matching full-waveform inversion (DM/FWI), to the data.

The NOAKA OBN survey was acquired over two seasons in 2021-2022 and comprises 434 sq km of multi-client OBN data. Processing has been completed over a priority area of 198 sq km.

TGS also won an OBN survey in the Gulf of Mexico, the company announced Dec. 18. Acquisition is slated to begin in the first quarter of 2024. 

Regulatory updates

Pacific OCS Decommissioning Rules Set

The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) published rules for decommissioning offshore energy infrastructure on the Pacific Outer Continental Shelf (OCS), the agency said Dec. 12.

The decision provides a systemic pathway to remove obsolete offshore oil and gas infrastructure following site-specific environmental assessments and approved decommissioning plans. It also ensures no oil and gas infrastructure will remain on the Pacific OCS seafloor that could interfere with navigation, commercial fisheries and other current or future ocean users.

Twenty-three California oil and gas platforms, all installed between the late 1960s and 1990, are subject to eventual decommissioning.

The record of decision was the culmination of the Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS) process for Oil and Gas Decommissioning Activities on the Pacific OCS. The final PEIS was published in October and recommended the selection of the alternative of complete removal of all oil and gas equipment and facilities on the Pacific OCS. 

Repsol Fined for North Sea Flaring

The U.K. North Sea Transition Authority (NSTA) fined Repsol $202,360 (£160,000) for flaring and venting more than 73 tonnes of gas, NSTA announced Dec. 13.

According to NSTA, Repsol flared and vented greenhouse gas without consent at the Auk North, Halley and Fulmar fields. 

Repsol, which operates the Fulmar facility, east of Dundee in the Central North Sea, has received short-term flare and vent consents since January 2019 to cover necessary actions associated with post cessation of production activities on Fulmar, Auk North and Halley.   

Since July 2020, the short-term consents have noted the fact that the main users of the Fulmar platform are now third parties, and the Fulmar facility is providing oil and gas processing facilities for third parties.  

On July 1, 2022, the NSTA informed Repsol that no valid consents were in place for Auk North, Halley and Fulmar. The NSTA told the company that continuing to flare or vent after consent expired on June 30, 2022, would be a failure to comply with regulatory requirements.