BP announced Thursday that it and its partners have decided to proceed with a two-year appraisal program that will look at developing a third phase of the giant Clair field in the North Sea, west of Shetlands.
The initial commitment involves a two-year program to drill five appraisal wells. This could increase to between eight and 12 wells, depending on results from these first wells. Drilling of the first well commenced recently.
The objectives of the program are to provide greater certainty on overall reservoir volumes, including their distribution and fluid characteristics; to evaluate technologies to improve recovery from Greater Clair; and to test the possibility of new standalone developments and linkages to Clair Ridge.
BP Regional President for the North Sea Trevor Garlick commented in a company statement:
"This is a major milestone and a further big commitment to the west of Shetland by BP and its co-venturers. If successful, the appraisal programme could pave the way for a third phase of development at Clair – this is now a real possibility."
UK Energy Secretary Ed Davey added:
"This announcement by BP of a two year appraisal programme for the Greater Clair area West of Shetland is excellent news. It shows the industry's commitment to maximise the potential in this area, which could hold up to 17 percent of our oil and gas reserves."
"Greater Clair proves there is still a long future for oil and gas production in the North Sea and will give confidence to new recruits that the industry offers a career for life."
Discovered in 1997, the Clair field is located almost 50 miles west of Shetland and extends over an area of 85 square miles. Hydrocarbons initially in place have been estimated at around eight billion barrels of oil equivalent.
So far, the first development phase at Clair have seen BP and its partners process around 90 million barrels. Phase 2, in which production is expected to commence in 2016, is expected to lead to an estimated 640 million barrels of oil produced over 40 years, and will also provide a hub for future expansion.
BP is the operator of Clair, with a 27.62-percent interest. Partners in the field include: Britoil (0.98%), ConocoPhillips UK Sigma (24%), Chevron North Sea (19.42%), Enterprise Oil Limited (18.68%) and Shell Clair UK (9.3%).