ETAP 'Example of Major Benefits from North Sea Investment' - ETAP Fields Start Production

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30 July 1998
The ETAP participants - BP (operator), Agip UK, Esso, Mitsubishi Oil, Murphy, Shell and Total - announced today that stable oil production and export from their shared Central North Sea facilities had been established.

The Mungo field was the first to flow at 10.40 pm on Saturday 18 July and production has now reached the initial target rate of 30,000 barrels of oil a day.

Commissioning of the gas processing plant has progressed rapidly in the meantime and the start of gas export from ETAP is expected within a few days.

Further fields will be brought on stream over the next two months and production is expected to build up to peak levels of approximately 210,000 barrels of oil and 360 million standard cubic feet of gas a day during 1999. This represents an addition of approximately 270,000 barrels of oil equivalent a day (boed) to total UKCS production.

BP's share of this additional production yielded by ETAP is approximately 50% or 135,000 boed, equivalent to about 20% of BP's current net UK production.

Mr Chris Rhodes, BP's business unit leader for ETAP and the Central North Sea, said: "ETAP is one of the most significant new North Sea developments for over a decade. The UK content of this 1,600 million development is around 80%, supporting about 4,000 jobs, half of them in Scotland, during the design and construction phase. It is the most recent example of the major benefits which North Sea investments bring in their wake, and it shows significant faith in and commitment to the UK North Sea on the part of BP and its co-venturers.

"We do not believe a multi-field development as complex as ETAP has ever been tried before. Production was originally scheduled to start in autumn 1998 and the ETAP alliance has delivered first oil some two months ahead of schedule, which is a huge credit to all involved.

As well as delivering early production, the alliance has also met demanding standards of safety and environmental performance. The ETAP platforms are designed to be amongst the safest in the industry and, by restricting the oil rate until the commencement of gas export, the commitment of both the investors and the contractors to minimise emissions has been clearly demonstrated.

"We have faced a variety of challenges including high temperature, high pressure reservoirs, technically complex wells, distant subsea tiebacks and the need for highly flexible processing plant on the Central Processing Facility. The task for the next few weeks is to complete the remaining commissioning work safely, and then focus fully on safe and efficient production operations."

Notes to Editors:

Located within the Eastern Trough in the UK Central North Sea, the ETAP development includes seven oil and gas accumulations, of which four (Marnock, Mungo/Monan, and Machar) are operated by BP and three (Heron, Egret and Skua) are operated by Shell. They all lie between 200 and 230 kilometres east of Aberdeen in water depths of 85 to 95 metres and cover an area approximately 35 kilometres long and 30 kilometres wide.

The production facilities for ETAP are jointly owned by the four field groups which have co-operated to specify, design and build them, and are based on a Central Processing Facility (CPF) which will be operated by BP and is located over the Marnock field. The CPF comprises two bridge-linked steel jackets and topsides which separate the living quarters, utilities and control rooms from the wells, risers, processing and compression facilities and the export hub for produced oil and gas.

The Mungo field is developed by a Normally Unattended Installation and Monan, Machar, Heron, Egret and Skua are all subsea developments tied-back to the CPF.

Oil export will be through the Forties Pipeline System while gas export will be through the Central Area Transmission System.

The development was sanctioned in December 1995 and construction work commenced in early 1996. Drilling commenced in the summer of 1996 using the semi-submersible rig Ton van Langeveld and the jack-up rig Monarch. In total some thirty wells will be drilled.

Last summer the three steel jackets for the Central Processing Facility and Mungo field were installed with the topsides following in April 1998.

ETAP has been developed by an ‘alliance' of contractors with two main groupings - facilities and wells.

Participants in the facilities alliance are: AMEC, BP, Barmac, Brown & Root, Consafe, European Marine Contractors/Coflexip Stena, Heerema and Kvaerner.

Participants in the wells alliance are: BP, Camco, Cooper, Noble, Santa Fe and Schlumberger.

Both alliances operate on a risk/reward basis and offer the contractors the potential to increase their profit margins should ETAP better its cost, schedule and production targets.

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