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Lloyds List: Work begins on next phase of Ormen Lange

Martyn Wingrove, Lloyds List
Published: Jul 03, 2007

NORSK Hydro and Shell have started the next phase of developing the deepwater Ormen Lange gas field off Norway by chartering drilling and subsea construction vessels.

Both companies are preparing to increase natural gas and condensate production from the Norwegian Sea from 2010 by developing the southern portion of the giant field.

Hydro’s partner Norske Shell has awarded a $810m contract to Oslo-listed rig group Seadrill for the use of its drillship West Navigator for four years.

The modern drilling unit is already working for Shell on Ormen Lange drilling and completing development wells until April 2009.

This new contract will begin in January, 2009, replacing and extending the older one, said Seadrill.

Meanwhile, Norwegian company Hydro, which is selling its energy division to Statoil, has awarded a NKr120m ($20m) contract to Italian company Saipem to install a new subsea template on the southern part of the field.

Saipem will use a crane barge, most probably its S7000, to install the new 1,150 tonne, eight-slot drilling and production template.

Offshore work will be undertaken in the second quarter of 2009 with the template lowered to the seabed in 900 m of water.

The new template will be linked to the existing subsea infrastructure of the alpha template with two flowlines, one umbilical and a line for pumping monoethylene-glycol that improves flow assurance properties.

Saipem’s contract with Hydro could also be extended to include heavy lift work on the Troll field in the North Sea from 2009.

Back on Ormen Lange, Hydro has also awarded a NKr1bn contract to FMC Kongsberg to supply the subsea systems for the southern field development.

FMC will engineer and fabricate six subsea trees, an eight-slot manifold, protection structures and the pipeline end modules with delivery in the first quarter of 2009.

Hydro and Shell are expecting natural gas production to begin from the first Ormen Lange wells this September with deliveries to the Easington terminal in northeast England in October.

Their partners in the Norwegian Sea project include state-run Petoro and Statoil, Dong of Denmark and the US group ExxonMobil.

On another Norwegian Sea project, Hydro is using Saipem’s S7000 to install platform modules.

It has installed two gas processing modules, supplied by Aibel at Haugesund and Prosernat in France, on to the Njord production semi-submersible.

This is part of Hydro’s plans to export associated gas from the Njord field through the Asgard pipeline to Europe from October this year.

Also working at the facility was pipelay vessel Acergy Falcon, which installed the gas export riser and laid control cables.

Work still to be completed includes the replacement of the existing production risers and connection of the new modules to the existing topsides. Also the new export riser needs to be linked to the new 40 km long pipeline, which needs to be connected to the Asgard trunk line.

‘This puts us right on track with our gas sales commitments for Njord from October 1,’‛ said Rune Adolfson, head of Hydro’s Njord project.

Also in the Norwegian Sea, Statoil has begun drilling operations on its Midnight Sun prospect in block 6405/10, using semi-submersible rig Transocean Leader.

The well is north of Ormen Lange and south of Statoil’s oil discovery Ellida, which the state company said was non commercial because it would not flow. Statoil is hoping to find a lighter oil and better reservoir properties at Midnight Sun.

But Italian company Eni was disappointed with its Norwegian Sea wildcat exploration well, which failed to find a reservoir in the Voring basin block 6504/5, northwest of the Asgard field. Transocean Leader plugged the well, then went to Statoil’s well.

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