Ithaca Energy has filed key regulatory paperwork for the next phase of its £400 million enhanced oil recovery (EOR) programme at the North Sea’s Captain field.
Regulator Offshore Petroleum Regulator for Environment and Decommissioning (OPRED) published an environmental statement for the second phase of the Captain EOR Stage 2 scheme on Monday, detailing plans for the drilling of seven new wells at the field, 90 miles east of Aberdeen.
The work forms the latest step in a long-running life extension project dating back to the last decade.
The first phase of the EOR project was sanctioned by then-operator Chevron in October 2017, with the aim of boosting recovery by 5-7% using polymer flood technology in the UK North Sea for the first time.
The programme involved the injection of polymerised water at the field, which increases its viscosity and hydrocarbon recovery from the reservoir. In stage one, six new polymer injection wells were drilled and the Captain platform was upgraded.
The second stage – broken into two phases – will unlock an additional 40 million barrels from the field using the same technique, with current operator Ithaca (85%) having made a final investment decision on the scheme in early 2021 alongside equity partner Dana Petroleum (15%).
According to the new paperwork, six new subsea polymer injection wells will be drilled across two new drill centres starting next year, while one further production well will also be drilled at an existing site.
The COSL Pioneer rig is already booked for work at the field this year, and is set to handle drilling into 2023 as well.
New polymer injection flowlines and control umbilicals will be installed between the existing Captain bridge-linked platform (BLP) and the new wells, as well as some ongoing modifications made to the two other Captain installations.
Wells are slated to be drilled between Q1 2023 and Q2 2024, Ithaca said, while subsea installation will take place between spring and summer next year.
Polymer injection will begin in Q1 2024, with first production from the new well in the next quarter.
Meanwhile, work is already well progressed on the first phase of Stage 2, with yards in Aberdeen and Nigg fabricating and marshalling a raft of new components – all due of which are due to be shipped out for offshore installation later this month.