Com­pa­nies an­nounce Pierce field in­vest­ment

Off­shore: Shell and Ithaca in ven­ture

The Press and Journal (Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire) - - BUSINESS - BY DAVID MCPHEE

Oil gi­ant Shell and part­ner Ithaca En­ergy have an­nounced they are to pump in­vest­ment into their Pierce de­pres­suri­sa­tion project in the UK cen­tral North Sea.

The com­pa­nies took a fi­nal in­vest­ment de­ci­sion to en­able them to start ex­port­ing gas as well as oil from the Pierce field, which lies 165 miles east of Aberdeen.

It is a joint ven­ture be­tween Shell (92.52%) and Ithaca, which holds a 7.48% stake.

Shell said the cash in­jec­tion will go to­wards mod­i­fy­ing the ex­ist­ing float­ing pro­duc­tion, sup­port and of­fload­ing (FPSO) ves­sel the Haewene Brim, owned and op­er­ated by Blue­wa­ter.

De­vel­op­ment will take place be­tween 2020 and 2021 and has Oil and Gas Author­ity (OGA) ap­proval.

The Pierce field is ex­pected to pro­duce 30,000 bar­rels of oil equiv­a­lent at peak.

Steve Phimis­ter, vi­cepres­i­dent up­stream and direc­tor of Shell UK, said: “This im­por­tant de­vel­op­ment of the Pierce field will al­low us to un­lock ad­di­tional gas re­serves for the UK’s homes and busi­nesses and value for our share­hold­ers.

“It is Shell’s eighth fi­nal in­vest­ment de­ci­sion in the UK Con­ti­nen­tal Shelf since the start of 2018.

“Each is part of a care­ful and cost-ef­fec­tive strate­gic ex­pan­sion of our North Sea ca­pac­ity, in line with our core up­stream fo­cus on prof­itable in­vest­ments and com­pet­i­tive growth op­por­tu­ni­ties.”

Pierce is an oil pro­duc­ing sys­tem, with all pro­duced gas com­pressed and dried for rein­jec­tion.

The “blow­down” project on Pierce will al­low Shell and Ithaca to ex­tract the reser­voir’s gas cap.

Scott Robert­son is the Oil and Gas Author­ity (OGA) area man­ager for the Cen­tral North Sea.

He said: “The OGA is pleased to ap­prove this de­vel­op­ment, which fol­lows the ap­provals last

“This im­por­tant de­vel­op­ment... will al­low us to un­lock ad­di­tional gas re­serves”

year of the Shear­wa­ter­hosted Ar­ran, Fram, Colum­bus and gas ex­port projects.

“This lat­est Pierce Gas de­pres­suri­sa­tion de­vel­op­ment se­cures ap­proval of an­other com­po­nent of the Cen­tral Graben Area Plan, de­vel­oped by the OGA and in­dus­try col­lab­o­rat­ing to max­imise eco­nomic re­cov­ery from this re­gion of the North Sea.”

Last year was the op­er­a­tor’s 50th year pro­duc­ing in the North Sea, with the com­pany pre­vi­ously say­ing it could be in the re­gion for an­other half-cen­tury.

It also sanc­tioned the BP-op­er­ated Al­li­gin field in April 2018, which Shell holds a 50% stake in.

In 2017, Shell also sold a pack­age of North Sea as­sets to Chrysaor for £3 bil­lion, but has since said no fur­ther sales are on the hori­zon.

Shell and Chrysaor an­nounced this year they would be “ac­tively” in­volved in the Acorn car­bon cap­ture project at St Fer­gus gas plant near Peter­head.

AN­NOUNCE­MENT: Steve Phimis­ter said Pierce formed part of North Sea ex­pan­sion

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