Oil giant Equinor has announced start of production at its giant Johan Sverdrup project in the Norwegian section of the North Sea.
The firm claim the start-up is two months ahead of schedule and, as a consequence, £3.5 billion under budget.
The project is a joint partnership between Equinor and Lundin Norway, Petoro, Aker BP and Total.
Sverdrup is understood to hold expected recoverable reserves of 2.7 billion barrels of oil equivalent.
The full field could produce up to 660,000 barrels of oil per day at peak.
Eldar Saetre, president and chief executive of Equinor, said: “Johan Sverdrup coming on stream is a momentous occasion for Equinor, our partners and suppliers.
“At peak, this field will account for around one third of all oil production in Norway and deliver very valuable barrels with record low emissions.
“Johan Sverdrup is expected to generate income from production of more than NOK 1400 billion of which more than NOK 900 billion to the Norwegian state and society.”
Equinor was granted the go-ahead to start-up its Johan Sverdrup project by the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate (NPD) last month.
Construction of the second phase is planned for Q4 2022.
The Johan Sverdrup field is expected to produce oil for the next 40 years.
It is located 96 miles west of Karmoy and 24 miles south of the Grane field.