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Bridge Petroleum says ‘things are looking up’ for Galapagos project

© Supplied by DCTMediaThe Greater Galapagos Area includes the partially-developed North West Hutton field, discovered in 1975.
The Greater Galapagos Area includes the partially-developed North West Hutton field, discovered in 1975.

The company behind a massive North Sea redevelopment that could yield millions of barrels of oil says it is “hopeful for the future” of the project.

Bridge Petroleum is “working very hard” to find an investor for its Galapagos scheme after a farm-out process to find a partner was initially launched in 2018.

But a bounce back in the oil price, combined with the lifting of Covid-19 restrictions, means “things are looking up” for the scheme, Jeb Tyrie, the firm’s head of technical, told the Devex Conference.

Previously dubbed a “dormant Brent giant”, Galapagos includes the amalgamation of the formerly-named North West Hutton and Darwin fields east of Shetland.

Back in 2018 Bridge said there was a “high level” of interest in the project from potential partners, but since then the North Sea has felt the bite of another downturn.

Galapagos, around 80 miles east of Shetland, has predicted reserves of 81 million recoverable barrels of oil for stage one, with similar yields forecast for stage.

But Bridge is aiming high and hopes to recover around 30% of the estimated remaining oil, which equates to around 360m barrels.

Mr Tyrie said: “Galapagos is a massive project, comprising around 81m barrels of reserves, and we believe we can do better than that.

“It is dependent upon getting investment in to the scheme and we’re working very hard on that. The oil price is back up, we’re all here and face to face so things are looking up. We’re hopeful for the future.”

First time around, the North West Hutton produced just 124m barrels, around 14% of the total reserves, as the central platform couldn’t “reach every corner” of the field.

But with “new technology and new seismic” Bridge is confident of gleaning more hydrocarbons from the area.

North West Hutton was discovered in 1975, but ceased production in 2002 due to numerous reasons including the oil price.

Bridge acquired the licenses for Darwin and NW Hutton from Taqa and Ineos.

Other operators of the fields include Amoco, BP and Fairfield Energy.

On what previous operators of the area missed, Mr Tyrie said: “A lot of the wells had a lot of mechanical difficulties and a lot of them were based on pretty poor seismic, which can often lead to faults.”

Aberdeen-based Bridge’s North Sea portfolio also includes the Bardolino field, which is located in UKCS Licence Block 22/13a, about 100 miles east of Aberdeen.

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