French oil and gas company Total said yesterday a new gas project off Scotland would help it overtake BP as the UK’s largest oil and gas producer by 2015.
The £3billion Laggan-Tormore project west of Shetland is expected to produce 93,000 barrels of oil equivalent (boe) per day after it comes on stream in summer 2014, boosting the firm’s daily UK production to 200,000boe.
The two fields are a subsea development, with no platforms or vessels being used in the production process.
Total’s UK output was hit after a serious gas leak last year led to more than 12 months’ downtime at its Elgin-Franklin development, leading to a drop of about 37% in 2012 UK production.
Elgin-Franklin is now yielding 55,000-60,000boe per day, with future developments at Franklin due to give an additional lift.
BP is expected, however, to take back the number one spot in 2016, when the Clair Ridge project west of Shetland comes on stream with estimated reserves of 640million barrels of oil.
Total upstream president Yves-Louis Darricarrere said the North Sea represented about 20% of the group’s worldwide production and investment, with the company relying on exploring frontier fields to replenish its oil and gas reserves.
He said: “Our policy . . . is to look for larger prospects in basins where we are not used to going, but where past discoveries have been made.”
Laggan-Tormore, about 78 miles west of Shetland, has estimated reserves of 230million boe. Total has an 80% stake, and Danish energy firm Dong has the other 20%.
The development will include a new gas terminal at Sullom Voe in Shetland and the laying of more than 230 miles of pipeline to bring the gas into the St Fergus terminal near Peterhead.
Total plans to link in its nearby discoveries at Edradour and Tobermory to create a new production hub in the west-of-Shetland area, which would be the group’s third with Alwyn in the northern North Sea and Elgin-Franklin east of Aberdeen.
More than 3,000 staff are employed by Total in the UK, with 1,200 at an operations base in Aberdeen which includes a geoscience research centre.
A further 1,000 people work in UK waters for the firm, which also has a 26.6% interest in the Scotrenewable tidal-power project in Orkney.