£39m Tonto project

Oil and gas operator Apache North Sea said yesterday it would invest nearly £39million to develop a new project close to its giant Forties field.

Apache estimated the Tonto field had 2.5million barrels of recoverable reserves and has set a target of first oil in the second quarter of this year. The firm said Tonto would be tied back to nearby Forties Bravo, which is around 110 miles north-east of Aberdeen.

Apache, the sole stakeholder in Tonto, said it expected the development’s output to start at about 3,000 barrels of oil per day (bpd) and last until 2019.

The operator said it was encouraged to develop Tonto after the success of Maule, another smaller find brought online through Forties Alpha in 2010.

Apache said Maule, which it had estimated to hold up to 4.4million recoverable barrels, was still producing at about 1,200bpd. Bacchus, which produces about 12,900bpd, is also tied back to Forties Alpha.