Mighty Goliat field set back

Eni is to delay first oil from its Goliat project in the Norwegian sector of the Barents Sea by a year, to 2013, because the company can’t begin necessary purchases in time for the planned start-up.

Also delayed is the development drilling programme, which gets pushed back a year, too – to 2011.

Goliat’s operator filed the environmental impact assessment with the Norwegian authorities in November and intends to submit its development and production plan Q1 2009, but only after deciding on which floating production solution is best.

Eni Norge said that comes down to a Norwegian two-horse race – Aker Solutions or Sevan Marine.

Goliat will cost at least $5billion to develop and the prize is some 200million barrels of oil, plus 3.1billion cu m of associated gas. The project will be based on a floater/subsea wells solution.

This offshore Arctic field is located in water depths ranging 1,000-1,800m. It was discovered in 2000 and lies about 50km south-east of the StatoilHydro-operated Snohvit gas field.

Goliat has two separate main reservoirs, Kobbe and Realgrunnen. Both contain oil with an overlying gas cap. Additional, minor oil discoveries were found in the Snadd and Klappmyss formations.

Pressure in the reservoirs is low: 123 bar for Realgrunnen and 192 bar for Kobbe. Eni says this is an advantage as regards well control, but presents challenges for production because artificial lift will be required.

The provisional oil production profile shows a build-up to 34million barrels a year by the second year of production. After that, production will decline relatively rapidly to 10.5million barrels a year, followed by a further steady reduction to 0.5million a year. Gas will be re-injected into the Kobbe reservoir or transported to Melkoya, landfall of StatoilHydro’s Snohvit development. It is expected that the maximum volume of gas production (and re-injection) will be about 1.3billion cu m a year, with output starting one year after oil production starts.

Eni says the Goliat field should be in production for 15-20 years, but that its life span may be extended if new discoveries are made in the vicinity. The preliminary design work (FEED) is under way and, according to the environmental impact assessment submission, a preliminary contract award for the production templates will take place in Q1 2009, with the final contract awarded following government approval of the plan for development and operation.

Eni operates Goliat with a 65% interest. StatoilHydro holds 20% and DNO 15%.

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