The Ærfugl project is one of the most profitable developments on the Norwegian shelf with a break-even price of less than USD 15 per barrel.

The Ærfugl reservoir (formerly called Snadd) was discovered in 2000 and is located just west of Skarv, Aker BP’s northernmost producing field in the Norwegian Sea.

300 million barrels
The Ærfugl development is a major subsea project in two phases. Both phases are tied into the existing production vessel (FPSO) on the Skarv field, which is located approximately 210 km west of Sandnessjøen.

Production started from Ærfugl phase 1 in the Norwegian Sea on the 12 November 2020. This was on the same date as promised in the PDO to the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy submitted three years earlier, and the project was delivered onbudget.

The remaining wells for phase 2 came on stream in November 2021. Aker BP also plans to tie-in future developments in the area, and the project includes measures to facilitate this.

The reservoir holds a total of around 300 million barrels of producible oil equivalent, which will extend the lifetime of the Skarv field.

New technology
The reservoir is located 2,800 meters below the seabed. There is gas in the reservoir, but some oil will also precipitate when it is produced up to atmospheric pressure. This is why the gas producers on Ærfugl are also the largest oil producers at Skarv.

Six horizontal gas wells are tied back to the Skarv FPSO. The field consists of subsea installations and is enabled by two new technologies in particular:

  • More efficient reservoir drainage through new vertical X-mas trees.
  • Long-distance, electrically heated flow lines to avoid hydrates in the gas pipelines. This technology significantly improves heat efficiency compared with regular technology and enables longer tie-backs.
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Improvement through alliances
Reorganisation of the value chain through strategic partnerships and alliances is an important part of Aker BP’s strategy. The alliances have not only been delivering on cost and schedule, despite the “black swan” related to the challenges of Covid-19; they have also achieved major improvements since the PDO was approved, including significantly accelerated phase 2, from 2023 to 2021, and improved financials.

As many as three alliances are key to the development of the Ærfugl project:

• The Subsea Alliance between Aker BP, Subsea 7 and Aker Solutions

• The Semi-submersible Rigs Alliance between Aker BP and Odfjell Drilling and Halliburton

• The Modification Alliance between Aker BP and Aker Solutions

Strengthening the Skarv area

The Ærfugl field produces via the Skarv FPSO approximately 210 kilometres west of Sandnessjøen.

A digital twin of the entire field has been created in collaboration with Cognite, and this is a foundation for a smarter future. The project has used the digital twin to optimise plans and operations.

The project has resulted in a new control room with a simulator for testing new logistics and training of operating personnel. The simulator covers the entire Skarv and Ærfugl operation and supports the complex operations where the two fields are connected.

Reduced emissions and ripple effects
Energy efficiency and reductions in discharges to sea and emissions to air are important at Aker BP. With the Ærfugl field in production, CO2 emissions per barrel produced from Skarv FPSO will be reduced by as much as 30-40 percent.

The Ærfugl project has brought significant ripple effects for local suppliers in the Helgeland region.

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