The UK’s offshore regulator has asked Ping Petroleum for further information on its proposed Avalon development in the Outer Moray Firth.
In a lengthy letter evaluating the Environmental Statement (ES) filed for Avalon in November OPRED raised 42 points to which the operator should respond, covering various elements of the project.
Further information has been sought on the development’s emissions, its potential environmental impact and how the facility will be powered – questions the operator said it welcomed as part of the “due process” towards gaining approval.
Ping is using the Excalibur FPSO, formerly known as the Sevan Hummingbird, to develop the 23-million-barrel field in the Moray Firth, and has signed a pact with developer Cerulean Winds that would see the facility eventually powered by wind energy.
In its 4 August letter the regulator said that uncertainties surrounding the project made it “difficult to assess the impact” and asked for the group to summarise the project “as accurately as possible including updates since the ES was submitted”.
It also asked Ping to clarify exactly how power would be generated on the FPSO – querying the impact on the project’s atmospheric emissions if either a proposed import/export power cable or the wind turbine were not to go ahead.
The company has said that in a “worst-case scenario” the FPSO would rely on diesel and gas as power sources for the life of the development.
As for flaring, Ping’s submission notes that the installation of a potential gas import/export line would “reduce or eliminate” the need for routine flaring.
OPRED asked the operator to clarify its flaring requirements, querying what volumes would be flared annually and if routine flaring would be necessary in the event that a gas import/export line or gas reinjection were not added.
A further query was lodged over whether the field was intended to produce for 10 or 15 years.
FID planned for 2023
Ping, a subsidiary of Malaysia’s Dagang NeXchange (DNeX), last year pushed back its timeline for a final investment decision (FID) on the oilfield with a window of completion by Q3 2023.
Speaking in December, managing director Zainal Abidin Jalil said that approval of the ES would allow both its FID and field development plan to be finalised.
“We anticipate approvals mid next year and operations starting in 3Q 2025,” he added, though it remains unclear whether the new dates will also move this production target.
A spokesperson for Ping told Energy Voice: “Ping UK is pleased to get the feedback from the regulator, which is part of the due process and takes us one step closer to gaining approval.
“We will ensure all points are answered robustly and accurately as part of this rigorous environmental process.
“FID for the project will fall in line with the regulator’s approval process,” they added.