Ivar Aasen’s start-up is a huge milestone for Aker BP. As operator, the company has completed the development in a challenging period for the industry. It is therefore particularly satisfying that the project was delivered within total budget and on schedule. Around 17 million working hours were invested in the project and there were no serious HSE incidents. This means that the project has satisfied the four main goals – no serious incidents, a high-quality delivery, delivery on time and within budget.
A substantial field
The Ivar Aasen field lies in the northern part of the North Sea, approximately 175 km west of Karmøy. The field contains about 200 million barrels of oil equivalents, including Hanz. Hanz will be developed in phase two of the Ivar Aasen development, and constitutes about 18 million barrels of oil equivalents. The net sum for Aker BP is around 70 million barrels of oil equivalents. Production is estimated to have a gross plateau production of 67 mboepd.
In accordance with the authorities’ requirements, the development of Ivar Aasen and the neighbouring field Edvard Grieg has been coordinated. Oil and gas from Ivar Aasen will be transported via pipelines to the Edvard Grieg platform, where it will be processed and exported to the market. Edvard Grieg also supplies power to Ivar Aasen. It is anticipated that the Ivar Aasen field will have an economic lifetime of approximately 20 years, depending on oil prices and production developments. The field is being operated efficiently using modern technology and a minimum of personnel. Operations and activities are supported by the operation centre in Trondheim.
A significant proportion of deliveries to the project are from Norway. The main part of the platform deck was built in Singapore, while the living quarters were built in Stord. The jacket, which was installed in summer 2015, was built in Sardinia. A total of more than 5,000 people have worked on the construction of Ivar Aasen. The project has involved deliveries from more than 300 different places around the world and many of the deliveries for the platform deck in Singapore were sent from Norway.
Transportation of the platform deck from Singapore started on 6 June. The journey went through the Suez Canal before reaching Stavanger a good month later. Over the course of three hectic days at the end of July, all five platform deck modules were lifted into place on the jacket. The lifting operation was completed on 20 July, and the vessels were demobilised five days later. The operation was carried out according to plan and without any major problems.
Ivar Aasen has greatly benefitted from the support of the control room onshore in connection with the preparations for oil production start-up. The procedures for production start-up were prepared and tested in the control room simulator. The simulator was also used to give all the operators in the control room the opportunity to train on the start-up procedure and other important operations. This training was an essential aspect of achieving a successful production start-up.
On 1 June, the organisation for onshore support was in place and the planned working methods were established. The inspection and maintenance programme, work processes and applications to the authorities were completed during the course of the autumn.
Drilling operations on Ivar Aasen have been world-class in terms of the speed of the drilling, its high quality and good safety. Statistics from Rushmore confirm this. The excellent progress on drilling operations has so far contributed close to NOK 2 billion in savings for the project. This has been an important factor in the completion of the project within the total budget.
The drilling has taken place in close cooperation with the Department of Petroleum Technology and the Department of Drilling and Well Operations, along with Maersk Drilling, Schlumberger and other service companies. The wells on Ivar Aasen are drilled using geo steering. Maersk Interceptor’s every move on the Ivar Aasen field is closely monitored from a dedicated office in Trondheim – two kilometres into the ground and two kilometres horizontally through shale, conglomerates and, preferably, through oil-bearing porous sandstone. The sandstone’s density and resistance are measured here. The information is checked against the seismic data and interpreted on a continuous basis. Geo steering and close follow-up have contributed to optimising the well locations, which is an important factor in maximising reservoir exposure and achieving the best possible production from the wells.