Energy giant BP has confirmed that a subsea development is among the options being weighed up for its Clair South project, west of Shetland.
BP was responding to a comment made by an analyst during the Energy Industries Council’s North Sea Decarbonisation conference yesterday.
Diveena Danabalan, senior energy analyst at the EIC, was discussing a number of future oil and gas projects planned for the UK Continental Shelf during the opening session.
Ms Danabalan claimed that BP was considering an “all-subsea” option for Clair South, which would be the third development phase of the giant Clair field.
When the field was first discovered in 1977, it was estimated to contain 7 billion barrels of oil equivalent (boe).
Production from phase one kicked off in 2005, followed by the second, Clair Ridge, in 2018.
At one point, BP hoped to sanction Clair South this year.
But company bosses told Energy Voice in February 2020 that they wanted to spend more time making sure the project’s carbon footprint was as small as possible.
That meant a final investment decision potentially being made in 2022.
At the time, BP’s then-North Sea boss Ariel Flores said the firm would favour a fixed installation over a floating production vessel.
Mr Flores also said powering a new platform on Clair South with renewable energy supplied from shore via subsea cables was a “real option”.
However, the Covid pandemic delivered another setback for Clair South, forcing BP to pause its work on the project.
The company said in May 2020 that it would look to pick up where it left off in 2022, meaning FID would be pushed further into the future.
Ms Danabalan’s comment suggests BP has also been exploring whether Clair South could be developed without a new platform or production vessel.
This implies a subsea tieback to existing infrastructure is one of the options being assessed.
A spokesman for BP said: “The Clair field, with up to 7 billion barrels of oil initially in place, is a major resource in our North Sea and global portfolio.
“We are working with our partners and engaging with the OGA to recover those resources in the most economic and responsible way in line with our drive to produce resilient and focused hydrocarbons in service of our net zero ambitions.
“Subsea technology offers benefits to developing a resource as material as Clair and this is one of a range of options we are pursuing with our field partners for future development opportunities.”