RWE Dea is “now at the beginning of key field development work” in the North Sea – Breagh and Clipper South, plus BP-operated Devenick.
The biggest is Breagh, one of the largest natural gas fields still to be developed in the Southern North Sea. It is a “conventional” Carboniferous reservoir located some 65km offshore. RWE aims to achieve first commercial gas as early as Q2 2012.
According to RWE, the field’s reserves are about 460billion cu ft of gas (13billion cu m), although speculation over the past two years has suggested that the figure could be nearer 1trillion cu ft once the full potential of Breagh has been assessed and is better understood.
In that regard, last month, the jack-up rig, Ensco 72, arrived in the Breagh area (block 42/19a) to drill the Airidh exploration well. The anticipated drilling time is about a month.
“That means we will have the results by the end of June,” said Rene Pawel, MD of RWE Dea’s UK unit.
“The next well will be Macanta, in block 42/14. Here, the target is slightly deeper and it will take about two months to reach it.”
Project sanction for the Breagh development is apparently expected this month.
The first phase of development, which will cost £350-400million, will call for a production platform with an 800 to 900-tonne topsides and a 2,000-tonne jacket from which up to nine wells will be drilled.
The platform FEED (front-end engineering and design) is in the hands of engineering consultancy Genesis.
According to the Norwegian supply-chain body, Intsok, fabrication is an option on the Clipper South platform contract, for which bids have been submitted.
Wet gas will be exported through a 110km, 20in pipeline (10km will be overland) to a processing plant on Teesside. FEED for the pipeline has already been carried out by Genesis. Bids for pipelay have been submitted by Allseas and Saipem.
There are likely to be further stages of development involving more platforms and, possibly, offshore compression facilities. Thus far, three successful appraisal wells have been suspended to serve as future producers.
Breagh was originally discovered by Mobil in 1997. Current interest holders comprise RWE (70%) and Sterling Resources, whose CEO, Stewart Gibson, has just retired from the top role, but remains on the firm’s board.
Clipper South straddles blocks 48/19a, 19c, 20a and 20b in the Southern North Sea and lies 60km offshore.
Three wells will be drilled in the first phase, followed by up to another three. They will be hydraulically fractured.
Genesis has performed the platform FEED. This installation will feature a 2,000-tonne topsides and have accommodation for 40 personnel. Fabrication bids have been submitted by three yards. According to RWE, platform installation is planned for late-summer 2011, with drilling to begin thereafter.
Gas will be exported via the LOGGS pipeline system. Tenders for pipelay and platform installation are expected to be issued by mid-year.
Schlumberger will provide fracture and stimulation services under a long-term contract negotiated with the previous operator, Fairfield, now RWE’s partner, using the specialised vessel, Siem Sailor.
Reserves are estimated at 200billion cu ft and first production is expected at the end of 2011.
Finally, Devenick, in which RWE Dea has a share of 11.3%. This is a gas-condensate reservoir located in UKCS blocks 9/29a and 9/24b in the Northern North Sea about 187km south-east of the Fair Isle and 192km south-east of Shetland.
The Devenick development lies in a water depth of some 114m (374ft). Drilling will start later in 2010; offshore installation of pipeline and facilities will start in 2011. First gas is planned for mid-2012.