Better late than never as they say and yesterday’s announcement of start-up from Total’s West Franklin Phase 2 project more than a year behind schedule is a much-needed boost for the North Sea industry.
Total said it had started gas and condensate production to supply 40,000 barrels of oil equivalent (boe) per day to the Elgin/Franklin hub.
Michael Borrell, senior vice president exploration and production, Europe and central Asia, added: “With the start-up of the West Franklin Phase 2 project, Total consolidates the production capacity of its operated Elgin/Franklin hub.
“The hub holds significant reserves as well as promising exploration opportunities.”
West Franklin Phase 2 is targeting reserves of 85million boe.
The project includes the drilling of three new production wells and the installation of two new platforms, the West Franklin wellhead platform and the Elgin B platform, which will be also used to drill new wells on Total’s Elgin condensate gas field.
Located about 150 miles east of Aberdeen in the in the Central Graben area of the UK North Sea, West Franklin was discovered by Paris-based Total in 2003.
Phase 1 production started in 2007, with two wells drilled from the Franklin platform. Drilling of an appraisal well in 2008 more than doubled West Franklin’s estimated reserves, prompting the second phase.
Total operates Elgin/Franklin, including West Franklin, with a 46.2% interest alongside co-venturers Eni (21.9%), BG (14.1%), E.ON (5.2%), ExxonMobil (4.3%), Chevron (3.9%), Summit (2.2%) and Dyas (2.2%).
West Franklin Phase 2 development was approved by the UK Government in December 2010, when the French oil and gas giant said it was investing £645million in the project.
At the time, first production was expected in the last quarter of 2013.
Total has been active in UK waters since 1962. More than 90% of the firm’s production in the UK North Sea comes from several operated fields located offshore in two major zones; the Alwyn/Dunbar area in the northern North Sea and the Elgin/Franklin area in the Central Graben.
Production is due to start from Total’s £3billion Laggan-Tormore gas project west of Shetland, the firm’s third UK hub, during 2015.