CNOOC has hit a key milestone ahead of first production from phase 2 of the huge Buzzard oilfield in the North Sea.
A 516-tonne module has been added to the installation with support from contractor Worley and Allseas using the largest construction vessel in the world, the Pioneering Spirit.
Around 150 people on board the Allseas ship, and 50 on board Buzzard, were involved in the offshore operation.
CNOOC said the addition means the project is on track for first production in the fourth quarter of the year, extending the life of one of the largest-producing fields in the UK.
Sanctioned in 2017, Buzzard phase 2 is designed to add up to another 10 years of life to the field, estimated to cost in excess of £500million.
Around 150 people from Worley’s onshore, offshore and fabrication teams have been involved in the project.
After being constructed at the firm’s Rosenberg yard in Stavanger, Norway, the module was successfully installed on the platform last month using the Allseas Pioneering Spirit heavy lift vessel.
In August, CNOOC, formerly Nexen, confirmed that first oil from Buzzard Phase 2 had been pushed back from the second half of 2020 to 2021.
The Chinese firm said a number of issues played a factor in the decision, including the impact of Covid on safety onshore and offshore, as well as postponement of the Forties Pipeline System shutdown, to which key project activity had been aligned.
Buzzard Phase 2 is a bid to go after additional reserves to the north of the main field with a subsea development tied-back to it, with peak production of 37,000 boepd.
Worley has put in 1.1million workhours to date on the project and will now deliver the remaining hook up and commissioning to integrate the new module, sitting on the south-west corner, to the rest of the platform.
The Australia-headquartered engineering giant was awarded the contract for engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) of the module in 2018, beginning with front-end engineering and design work led by the firm’s Aberdeen office.
Daniel McAteer, vice president, Aberdeen operations at Worley, said: “The load out and installation of the BPII module marks a symbolic milestone for the BPII Alliance. It represents unity and defines that supply chain collaboration is paving the way for the future of our industry. Whether that be traditional brownfield scopes of work or partnering on new, innovative energy transition initiatives, we must work together to achieve our common goals.
“We’ve achieved so much already. And we’re looking forward to completing the next stage of the project later this year.”
Buzzard, which lies 62 miles north-east of Aberdeen, was the largest discovery in UK waters for 20 years when it was found in 2001.
It went on to become the largest-producing field in the UK after starting up in 2007, and was recently surpassed by Total’s Culzean gas field.
Buzzard is 43.2% owned and operated by CNOOC. Its partners are Suncor Energy (29.89%), Chrysaor (21.73%), and One-Dyas UK (5.16%).