Premier Oil’s plans to develop a major new field in the North Sea have been given the go-ahead by the UK government.
The firm’s field development plan for the Catcher development – about 110 miles east of Aberdeen – was today approved by the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC).
The area is expected to produce 96 million barrels of oil, with a peak production rate of around 50,000 barrels of oil per day.
All major service contracts have been awarded and the project is now in the execution phase.
First oil is targeted for mid-2017.
Premier chief executive Simon Lockett said: “Having discovered Catcher in 2010, we are extremely pleased to have brought the Catcher area through the development approval process.
“Once on-stream this project, which has been facilitated by the government’s small field allowances, will underpin our growing cash flows.”
The project will involve the drilling of 22 subsea wells on the Catcher, Varadero and Burgman fields which will be tied back to a leased FPSO.
The oil will be offloaded by tankers while the gas will be exported through the SEGAL facilities.
UK Energy Minister Michael Fallon welcomed the development.
“The Catcher area development shows that there continues to be an extraordinary level of interest in North Sea oil and gas, which is excellent news for industry and for the whole of the UK,” he said.
“The project represents over £1billion of investment and almost all of the subsea expertise and equipment needed for this development is being supplied by British companies right across the country.”
BW Offshore will provide the floating production and storage (FPSO) unit, with a minimum seven-year deal for the production unit on a deal worth around £1.38billion.
The vessel will be built in Japan and converted for use in the North Sea in Singapore. It will process up to 60,000 barrels of oil per day and store 650,000 barrels. BW Offshore, a Norwegian firm, was awarded the front end engineering study in 2012.