The UK Government has approved a plan to decommission a North Sea development less than five years after first oil.
EnQuest submitted proposals to shut down the Alma/Galia fields two months ago, which were developed as tie-backs to the floating production, storage and offloading (FPSO) vessel in 2015.
It had been hoped the development would be in production for up to 15 years.
Sailaway of the EnQuest Producer FPSO is planned for the third quarter of this year.
It will then be recycled unless a reuse option can be found, “the fate of which will be determined by the owner,” EnQuest said.
The North Sea operator become the owner of the vessel in 2012, then named Uisge Gorm, after buying it from FPSO firm Bluewater for £42.4million.
EnQuest has made no indication as to whether alternatives have been found to recycling the vessel.
In the decommissioning document, the firm added: “The owner will be responsible for taking reasonable measures to assure itself that proposals to re-use the vessel will be credible, and that disposal of the FPSO will be in compliance with the IMO Hong Kong International Convention for theSafe and Environmentally Sound Recycling of Ships.”
In January, EnQuest said the Alma/Galia, first sanctioned in a higher oil price environment, has been hit by a combination of “electric submersible pump (ESP) failures” and more natural decline than expected.
Despite replacing three ESPs in 2018, the lower performance and costs of any further remedial work made the project “uneconomic to continue producing”, the firm added.
Alma/Galia lies around 192miles south-east of Aberdeen in the Central North Sea.