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Equinor: Snorre expansion project now in production

Production commenced from the Snorre expansion project in the North Sea on 12 December. This major increased oil recovery project will add almost 200 million bbl of recoverable oil reserves and help extend the productive life of the Snorre field through 2040, according to Equinor.

The project was originally scheduled to come on stream in Q1 2021. The Snorre field partnership consists of Equinor, Petoro, Vår Energi, Idemitsu and Wintershall Dea.

“I am proud that we have managed to achieve safe start-up of the Snorre expansion project ahead of schedule in such a challenging year as 2020. In addition, the project is set to be delivered more than NOK 1 billion below the cost estimate in the plan for development and operation (PDO),” said Geir Tungesvik, Equinor’s Executive Vice President for Technology, Projects and Drilling.

The Snorre field has been on stream since 1992, and it’s believed there are substantial resources left in the ground. In December 2017, Equinor and the Snorre partners submitted a modified PDO for the Snorre field to Norwegian authorities. The recovery factor will now be increased from 46% to 51%, representing significant value for a field with 2 billion bbl of recoverable oil reserves.

The Hywind Tampen project, featuring 11 floating wind turbines that will supply the Snorre and Gullfaks fields with power, is expected to come on stream in Q3 2022. About 35% of the power requirement for the two fields is expected to be met using wind power.

According to the original PDO, the Snorre field was intended to be closed in 2011-2014 but continues to produce thanks to the authorities’ consent to extend the field’s life.

“Life extension represents good resource management. The new volumes brought to Snorre A help ensure activity offshore and onshore, creating substantial value for the Norwegian society,” said Arne Sigve Nylund, Equinor’s Executive Vice President for Development and Production Norway.

The investments in Snorre Expansion Project total NOK 19.5 billion (2020 value). The project has had substantial spin-off effects for the supply industry in Norway, particularly in Eastern Norway and in Rogaland.

Twenty-four new wells will be drilled to recover the new volumes. The wells are divided into six subsea templates. Bundles connecting the new wells to the platform have also been installed, in addition to new risers. The project also includes a new module and modifications on Snorre A.

After three years of modifications being carried out on a platform on stream, the final preparations to receive oil from the new wells were performed during a major turnaround this autumn. The turnaround and work were performed without injuries or serious incidents.

Although the Snorre expansion project had progressed far when the COVID-19 pandemic began, the project has experienced challenges associated with deliveries, closed borders and plants, in addition to limited workforce on the platform due to infection control measures. Despite this, production began ahead of schedule.

“This is a result of excellent teamwork, both internally with own employees and safety delegates, and with our suppliers and partners. In a very unusual year many have gone to great lengths, been constructive and solution-oriented to ensure that the project was delivered,” Mr Tungesvik said.

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