International engineering and project-management company AMEC has landed significant work to help to extend the life of the Forties field.
It announced the award of two multimillion-pound contracts from Apache North Sea yesterday, which will be carried out by more than 150 AMEC workers; some of them new recruits.
Forties was the first major oil and gas find in the UK North Sea 38 years ago and, at its peak in 1979, produced 500,000 barrels of oil a day, however, output had declined to about one-tenth of this figure by January 2003, when oil giant BP announced it was selling the field to American independent oil and gas company Apache for £401million.
Current output has since risen to about 65,000 barrels a day and there are net reserves of about 200million barrels remaining.
The life of Forties has been extended by at least 15 years by Apache. Analysts expect the field to still be operating beyond 2020.
Jim House, managing director of Apache North Sea, said yesterday: “‘Over the past five years, Apache North Sea has transformed the Forties field into one of the UK continental shelf region’s more notable oil-producing assets. This has been achieved through a sustained programme of significant investments in projects to renovate a mature operation, critical long-term and fabric maintenance as well as an active drilling operation.
“These two new projects awarded to AMEC are part of our long-term development plan and, together with a range of others, will help to deliver sustainable production growth as well as achieve our integrity and safety objectives.”
Apache North Sea has its HQ in Aberdeen. At any time, it has 100 staff and 430 contractors working offshore.
One AMEC contract is for a front-end engineering design review and detailed design for the Forties Charlie deep gas-lift compression project.
The second contract covers the design, construction and commissioning of phase one of the Forties switchboard upgrade project.
Sandy Clark, European operations director for AMEC’s natural resources division, said: “Apache is an important client for AMEC. We have supported them previously at the front-end engineering design stage and now welcome the opportunity to provide further support with these two contracts.
“The contracts are significant in demonstrating our provision of multi-disciplined support to an independent operator like Apache. At their peak, the contracts will provide employment for more than 150 people.
“Phase one of the development programme for the Forties field began in September 2008 and runs for three years, but there may be further opportunities for us as part of Apache’s rolling five-year plan.
“This major investment by Apache is a clear demonstration of the confidence the company has in the long-term future of the Forties field and the North Sea.”