The discovery of the giant Johan Sverdrup field in the North Sea in 2010—2011 will endure as a milestone in the history of the Norwegian oil industry. It was a discovery that many people had been hoping for, and it opened a new and exciting chapter in our adventure.
Following many years of relatively minor discoveries counting millions of barrels, the experts were finally able to dust off the oil terminology of the 70s and 80s and celebrate a truly elephantine discovery: Johan Sverdrup numbered barrels by the billion.
In fact the first exploration well at Johan Sverdrup was drilled as far back as 1967, and was only the second exploration well ever on the NCS, located just 160 kilometres west of Stavanger.
Decades after the discovery of fields such as Statfjord and Gullfaks, the ranks of the giants can be augmented by Johan Sverdrup, one of the largest discoveries ever. At peak production this single field will account for roughly 25% of total petroleum production on the NCS, with a production horizon stretching beyond the year 2050.
When production is at its maximum level, 660,000 barrels will be recovered per day. Total resources are estimated to be between 1.9 and 3.0 billion barrels of oil equivalents and our ambition is to recover 70% of these reserves.
Due to the sheer scale of Johan Sverdrup—the area of the field is some 200 square kilometres—it will be developed in several phases involving several fixed platform installations.
The first phase of the field centre will span 700 metres and include an accommodation platform with 450 cabins, a process platform, a drilling platform and a riser platform linked by bridges. The platforms are supported on steel jackets standing in 110 metres of water.
When the first phase of the development reaches production start-up in late 2019, total capacity is estimated at 440,000 barrels per day. We expect to drill a total of 35 production and injection wells in the first phase, and a number of wells will be pre-drilled starting in 2016 so as to speed up production at start-up, which is planned for 2019.
Total first-phase investments will amount to NOK 99 billion, (capex numbers in nominal terms based on project currency). These include a field centre and four platforms, wells, export solutions for oil and gas, plus power supply. This estimate also includes unforeseen costs and provisions for market adjustments. In addition, preparations will be made for increased oil recovery during the first phase.
The partners have chosen land-based power supply for the Johan Sverdrup field in the first phase, which will reduce total climate gas emissions by 80% to 90%, when compared with a standard development procedure involving gas turbines on the NCS. In addition, energy efficient solutions are being given priority in order to reduce total energy consumption.
Oil for export from Johan Sverdrup will be piped ashore, from where it will be transported to the Mongstad terminal in Hordaland. Gas will be transported via Statpipe to Kårstø in Rogaland through a new 165 kilometre gas pipeline for processing and onward transport.