Maersk Oil’s boss said yesterday that key infrastructure for the North Sea Culzean field would soon be ready to set sail from the Netherlands.
Gretchen Watkins, Maersk Oil chief executive, said the last two platform jackets for Culzean would be loaded out at Heerema this quarter ahead of installation in summer.
The first of three jackets built for Culzean was positioned in the central North Sea in spring 2016.
Maersk Oil has also awarded a contract for hook-up work on Culzean to one of its sister companies.
Maersk Supply Services will manage the towing, mooring installation and hook-up of the Ailsa floating storage and offloading unit, which is currently under construction in Singapore.
Ms Watkins also said production was being ramped up at Flyndre, a field which started production in March.
Flyndre, which straddles the UK and Norwegian North Sea boundary, is expected to achieve a peak production rate of about 10,000 barrels of oil per day.
And Ms Watkins said a “real technical first” had been achieved on the Balloch field, 140 miles north east of Aberdeen.
She said production had been restored to “original levels” using a well intervention method that was about 30% cheaper than conventional rig-based approaches.
The company also plans to drill an appraisal well on Yeoman later this year.
Maersk Oil swung to a first quarter profit of £255million from a £22.5million deficit a year earlier.
Ms Watkins said the division’s performance was “underpinned by solid operational performance” − particularly in the UK and Kazakhstan − and a “continued push on cost efficiencies”.
But production dropped by 75,000barrels of oil equivalent per day (boepd) to 275,000 boepd due to natural field decline.
Output is expected to be lower in the second half of 2017 as the firm leaves Qatar in July.
Ms Watkins said Maersk Oil was positive on the North Sea’s future and that the vast majority of the firm’s investment – between $1billion and $1.5billion a year for next couple of years – would be spent there.
As well as stumping up funds for new developments like Culzean, Maersk Oil is “looking to continue to create value from mature fields”, including Balloch, Ms Watkins said.
She had no specific update on the restructuring announced by parent company Moller-Maersk in September.
The Danish conglomerate said it would split into two separate divisions – transport and logistics and energy.
The group intends to have a plan in place for the separation by the end of 2018.