French energy giant Total is weighing up a life extension for its Elgin-Franklin fields, which recently pumped out their billionth barrel from the North Sea.
Total is planning “facilities and integrity work” which would keep the Elgin-Franklin complex producing gas and condensate for longer, licence partner Chrysaor revealed.
The project would serve as a tonic for a North Sea industry which has been hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic, lower oil prices and the energy transition.
Elgin-Franklin fields have exceeded expectations since production started in 2001 following investment of £1.6 billion.
The high pressure, high temperature fields were originally expected to deliver fewer than 800 million barrels of oil equivalent (boe).
But in June bosses at Total announced that one billion boe had been produced from the assets 150 miles east of Aberdeen.
In 2012 more than 200 people were evacuated from Elgin-Franklin after a gas leak. No one was hurt but the incident cost Total billions of pounds.
Total has a 46.17% operated stake in Elgin-Franklin. Other partners include Chrysaor, Eni, ExxonMobil, Ithaca, One Dyas, Premier Oil and Summit.
Total has been contacted for comment.
Chrysaor gave brief details of the proposed Elgin-Franklin life extension in an update on its reverse takeover of Premier Oil.
The combined Chrysaor-Premier business will be called Harbour Energy, which is also the name of Chrysaor’s largest shareholder.
Harbour is an energy investment vehicle formed by EIG Global Energy Partners. It has helped Chrysaor pull off several high-profile acquisitions in the North Sea.
The tie-up with Premier will create the largest London-listed independent oil and gas company by production and reserves.
Premier published the shareholder circular and prospectus for the transaction yesterday and has scheduled a general meeting of its shareholders to approve the deal on January 12 2021.
It said those steps marked an “important milestone” for the transaction, which should go through by the end of the first quarter.
Premier’s long-serving chief executive, Tony Durrant, stepped down from its board yesterday.
Finance director Richard Rose will take on the role of interim CEO until completion of the deal.
Premier also provided an update on its operations, saying it was on track to meet its full year production guidance of 61-64,000boe per day.
Output from the Catcher area in the central North Sea has been restored after a seven-day unplanned outage last month.
The Solan field, west of Shetland, was shut in this month due to a glitch with an emergency generator, currently being repaired.
Drilling of the four wells on the Tolmount gas field in the southern North Sea is under way ahead of production start-up in the second quarter of 2021.
Further updates on Chrysaor’s operations were also included. In the J-Area, Chrysaor is weighing up a second drilling unit in 2021 to appraise the Talbot find and drill the Dunnottar exploration prospect.
Chrysaor expects first production from the Callanish F5 well in the Greater Britannia Area to be achieved early next year.
And the firm recently sanctioned an infill development well near the Everest field in the central North Sea, with drilling slated for the third quarter of 2021.