A Canadian oil and gas company has submitted a draft decommissioning programme for a platform on one of the North Sea’s oldest producing fields.
Canadian Natural Resources International (CNRI) has set out its plans on abandoning the Ninian North platform to Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) Greg Clark MP.
The firm first revealed it was planning on decommissioning the installation – one of three on the field about 240 miles north-east of Aberdeen – last year (2016).
Ninian Northern is connected to the Ninian Central platform which exports oil and gas to Sullom Voe.
Calgary-based CNR has owned the field since 2002, when made its debut in the North Sea buying up a package of assets from Kerr-McGee. The £77.6million deal also included the Murchison and Lyell fields. CNR began decommissioning Murchison in 2013.
The Toronto Stock Exchange-listed firm won approval from the Oil and Gas Authority (OGA) for “cessation of production” as a first step back in November.
CNR added its North Sea reserves decreased 15% to 141 million barrels of oil equivalent last year due to production and the “planned abandonment of the Ninian North platform”.
A 61 page draft decommissioning report give estimated time line for infrastructure removal as well as revealing plans to leave the cut off ‘legs’ of the platform in situ.
The height of the footings in the derogation case would be between 63.5m and 52.5m from seabed. The overall height of jacket is 147m from the seabed.
The proposal states: “Subject to market availability of cost effective removal services, the topsides will be removed following permanent down-manning of the platform in a window of 2019-2020.
“Since topsides integrity degrades rapidly following the platform becoming unoccupied, the most effective management option is to remove as soon as possible.
“The base case for removal of the jacket is 2032 at wider Ninian Field decommissioning where there may be an opportunity to consolidate the removals contract for NNP with that of the other Ninian platforms to facilitate multiple topsides/ jacket removals. The removal of the jacket may be set within the window of 2020 to 2032 if opportunities arise to undertake the work earlier.
“The base case for the removal of the NNP platform topsides is between 2019 and 2020 with removal of the jacket down to the proposed derogation height in 2032. The exact timelines for removal are subject to market conditions and contractual agreements.”
In 2013, CNR said it planned to invest £300million in the Ninian field to extend its life after the UK Government approved an application for a brownfield allowance.
Ninian was discovered in the early 1970s when reserves were assessed at some 3billion barrels of oil, with 1.2billion deemed recoverable.
First commercial oil was achieved on December 23, 1978 – over 38 years ago.
The giant Ninian Central platform is the most notable in the field, sitting on three-quarters of a million tonnes of concrete.
Kishorn yard in Wester Ross constructed the platform which was one of the biggest projects ever worked on at the site.
CNR said yesterday that its North Sea oil production rose by 6% as it continued to slash operating costs. Read more here.