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The Mariner Field is located on the East Shetland Platform of the UK North Sea approximately 150km east of the Shetland Isles.

"Statoil has extensive heavy oil experiences from offshore fields in Norway and Brazil. The Mariner field was discovered in 1981 and Statoil entered the license as operator in 2007 with the aim of finally unlocking the resources. We are satisfied that we now are able to make an investment decision for a profitable development of the Mariner field," says Lars Christian Bacher, executive vice president for Development and Production International in Statoil.

"The Mariner project is a good strategic fit for Statoil. We are the world's largest offshore operator and have a portfolio of attractive projects in some of the most prolific basins in the world. The North Sea is a core area for Statoil, and we look forward to taking a leading role in further developing also the UK part of this basin," Bacher adds.

Pending final approval of the field development plan by the UK authorities, Statoil expects to start production from Mariner in 2017. The field is estimated to produce for 30 years, with average production of around 55,000 barrels of oil per day over the plateau period from 2017 to 2020.

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Lars Christian Bacher, executive vice president for Development and Production International in Statoil.

Over its lifetime the project will generate substantial job creation and ripple effects for UK and the Aberdeen region. The project was positively impacted by the UK government's expansion of the Ring Fence Expenditure Supplement and will provide substantial tax income for the UK. An operating organisation for the Mariner field will be located in Aberdeen. UK content will be significant particularly within the drilling and well area and during the operations phase.

"This project will entail substantial job creation in the Aberdeen region with more than 700 long term full time positions. Of these around 200 will be onshore jobs at the operations centre in Aberdeen and more than 500 will be offshore positions. We aim to recruit most of these positions locally. We are planning to start the first recruitments already early in 2013," says Bacher.

The Mariner Field consists of two shallow reservoirs, the Maureen Formation and the Heimdal Sandstones of the Lista Formation, with nearly 2 billion barrels of oil  in place and expected reserves of more than 250 million barrels of oil . Both formations yield heavy oil of around 12 to 14 API.

The heavy oil project will require pioneering technology in order to be developed. Since its discovery in 1981, the Mariner field has been subject to a number of development studies by different operators. Statoil became operator for Mariner in 2007 and is, together with its partners,  Alba Resources Limited, (a wholly owned subsidiary of Cairn Energy PLC) and JX Nippon Exploration and Production (U.K.) Limited, the first company ready to put forward a value creating investment case based on a development concept that fully addresses the complexities of this field, in particular related to reservoir management, recovery rates and project execution.

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The field will be developed with a production, drilling and quarters (PDQ) platform, based on a steel jacket, with 50 active well slots, and a floating storage unit (FSU) of 850,000 bbls capacity. In addition a jack-up rig will be used for the first 4 - 5 years.

Because of the low well flow rates and early water break-through there is a need for many wells and a process designed to handle large liquid rates and oil-water emulsions. All production wells will have stand-alone sand screens and electric submersible pumps (ESPs) for lifting.

The contract award for engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) of the steel jacket has been issued to Dragados Offshore S.A. , who will cooperate with UK-based company SNC Lavalin Ltd.on detailed engineering. The contract award for the topside has been awarded to Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering Co., Ltd. (DSME) with UK-based CB&I og Rig Design Services (RDS) as engineering subcontractors.

A significant part of the contracts are procurement and will provide ripple effects for even more qualified sub-suppliers. The estimated total value for the PDQ and jacket is appr. GBP 1.2 billion, not including potential options. The contract awards are contingent on final approval of the field development plan by the UK authorities.

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Anders Opedal, senior vice president for projects in Technology, Projects and Drilling in Statoil.

"We have seen a lot of interest from the supplier industry for the Mariner project. Selecting the right suppliers who can deliver on cost and time, with the right quality has been critical for the development to be realised", says Anders Opedal, senior vice president for projects in Technology, Projects and Drilling in Statoil.

Statoil has earlier awarded contract for heavy lift operations to Saipem in the UK. The contract for a floating storage unit (FSU) and a drilling rig (cat J) will be awarded in Q2 2013. Invitation to tender for contracts on risers, pipelines, umbilicals, flowlines, power cables and marine operations will be issued in December with planned contract awards in Q2 2013.

Since Statoil entered in 2007, the company has developed a lead heavy oil position in the area, being operator with 65.11% equity in Mariner and 81.6% equity in the Bressay field. Statoil expects to make a final investment decision for Bressay in 2013. Through applying technology and competence, the value of the area has increased substantially.

Statoil is a key energy security partner for the UK and pursues a broad range of activities relating to energy production and sales in Britain. Statoil have a sales office for crude oil in London, and are a substantial supplier of gas to the British market. In addition to being operator for the Mariner and Bressay fields, Statoil is partners in the producing fields Schiehallion, Jupiter and Alba as well as in several exploration Licences offshore UK., including the oil and gas discovery  Rosebank.

Statoil was awarded seven licences in 27th Licence  Round both in the UK North Sea and the UK Shetland basin. Together with Statkraft, Statoil has developed the Sheringham Shoal offshore Wind Farm and recently acquired the Dudgeon offshore Wind Farm project. Statoil is also partners in the Dogger Bank offshore wind project. Statoil's business area for Global Strategy and Business Development is based in London and Statoil has around 400 employees in the UK.

The Mariner Field is located on the East Shetland Platform of the UK North Sea approximately 150km east of the Shetland Isles. Statoil acquired 44.44% and operatorship for Mariner from Chevron in 2007. Statoil acquired a further 20.6667% of Mariner from Nautical Petroleum in 2010. JX Nippon Exploration and Production (U.K.) Ltd(28.89%) and Alba Resources Limited, (6%) are partners in Mariner. Alba Resources Limited are a wholly owned subsidiary of Cairn Energy PLC.