First oil has been produced at the giant Mariner field in the North Sea today – the UK’s largest offshore development for a decade.
The Mariner reservoirs are estimated to have up to three billion barrels of oil in place, a 50% rise on what was initially assumed and the estimated recovery rate has also been increased by 20%.
The $7.7 billion (£6.4bn) development, operated by Equinor, is expected to produce around 55,000 barrels of oil per day on average and up to 70,000 barrels of oil per day at peak production.
Over the next 30 years, the Mariner field is estimated to produce more than 300 million barrels of oil.
Anders Opedal, Executive Vice President for Technology, Projects and Drilling in Equinor said: “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 in 2012.
“With the significant volumes in place, 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.”
Contracts worth more than $1.3 billion (£1.1bn) have been awarded to UK suppliers since the project started seven years ago.
Oil & Gas UK said first oil production from the Mariner development represents a “significant achievement”.
Policy Director Mike Tholen added: “Mariner has utilised pioneering technology to bring on stream a field first discovered nearly 40 years ago. In doing so, it has provided thousands of highly skilled jobs across the country during its development and will support many more in the years to come.
“The Mariner field will contribute towards energy security for the next 30 years. With up to three billion barrels of oil in place, it contributes to industry’s shared ambition Vision 2035 – which looks to meet as much of the UK’s oil and gas needs from home-produced resources as possible.”