Equinor starts up Mariner heavy oil production in UK North Sea
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Norway’s Equinor has started production from the Mariner heavy oil field in the UK North Sea, which is set to produce for over 30 years and add to growing production of heavy and ultra-heavy oil in UK waters.
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In a statement, Equinor said Mariner should produce at an annual plateau rate of 55,000 b/d, and peak rates of 70,000 b/d.
It said the field should produce over 300 million barrels over 30 years, but noted the field holds up to 3 billion barrels of “in place” oil, and the recovery estimate had already been increased by 20%.
With an API gravity of 15.1, Mariner crude will be among the heaviest produced in the North Sea, alongside thatfrom the EnQuest-operated Kraken field, which came on stream in 2017 and has an API gravity of 14.
Mariner crude has a higher sulfur content, of 1.1%, compared with 0.7% for Kraken.
With an estimated price tag of $7.7 billion, Equinor said it had managed to bring down the cost of the project by optimizing its design since the original investment decision was taken in 2012.
“By gathering and interpreting new seismic data we have improved our understanding of the reservoirs. This has resulted in fewer and better-placed wells and increased resources since the project was sanctioned,” Equinor executive vice president for technology, projects and drilling Anders Opedal said.
“We see clear potential to further increase the oil recovery from the Mariner field and will proactively seek opportunities to do so through the application of new technology, additional drilling and future tie-back opportunities.”
Equinor holds a 65.1% stake in Mariner, alongside conglomerate JX Nippon on 20%, UK independent Siccar Point Energy on 8.89%, and privately owned Dutch company ONE-Dyas on 6%.
The project is the first oil field to go into production in UK waters with Equinor as operator, and the Norwegian state-controlled company has several other UK oil and gas projects underway.
“The start-up of Mariner, the first Equinor-operated oil field on the UK continental shelf, establishes our foothold in the UK and reinforces our commitment to be a long-term energy partner,” Equinor senior vice president forthe UK and Ireland Hedda Felin said.
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