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Equinor celebrates start-up of North Sea border-straddling gas field

Equinor has started production from a gas condensate field straddling the Norwegian-UK border in the North Sea.

Utgard, discovered in 1982, is expected to yield 40 million barrels of oil equivalent (boe), with a plateau of around 43,000 boe per day.

The field development consists of two wells tied back to the Sleipner field on the Norwegian side of the boundary.

The project was expected to cost £315 million when the development plans were submitted to UK and Norwegian authorities in 2016.

Start-up was scheduled for the end of 2019.

Utgard has been delivered ahead of schedule and 25% below budget.

Anders Opedal, executive vice president for technology, projects and drilling in Equinor, said: “I am proud of the Utgard project being delivered at £80 million below the cost estimate and ahead of schedule, but first and foremost of the project being delivered without personal injuries.”

It is the first time Equinor had developed a field crossing the border between the Norwegian and UK continental shelves.

Mr Opedal said: “Good and efficient cross-border cooperation with both licence partners and authorities has made the Utgard development possible, and I am pleased that we found solutions ensuring proper resource management on both sides.”

Arne Gürtner, senior vice president for UK and Ireland Offshore in Equinor, said: “Through Utgard, we are maximising economic recovery from the North Sea, and unlocking high value, low carbon intensity barrels in line with our strategy.

“We will continue to seek cross-border opportunities to add value on both sides of the border.

Utgard will be remote-operated from the Norwegian Sleipner field, where the well stream will be processed before dry gas is transported to the market through the Gassled pipeline system, and liquids are sent through the existing pipeline to Kårstø for further export to Europe.

Utgard will also use Sleipner’s facility for CO2 purification and storage.

Arne Sigve Nylund, executive vice president for Development and Production Norway in Equinor, said: “By reusing the existing infrastructure, we can, with relatively low investments, realise smaller discoveries that would not otherwise have been profitable enough to develop.

“At the same time, we are adding valuable volumes to Sleipner.”

The Utgard partners are: Equinor Energy AS (operator) 38.44%, Equinor UK Limited (38.44%), LOTOS   Exploration & Production Norge AS (17.36%) and KUFPEC Norway AS (6.2%)

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