Field/project development

Aker BP, Equinor Declare FID in North Sea’s NOAKA Automated Field Project

Aker BP submitted the NOAKA development plan along with 10 other investments on the Norwegian shelf that collectively represent one of the largest private industrial developments in Europe.

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The Krafla, Fulla, and Nord of Alvheim license groups make up the NOAKA area. Source: Aker BP

Norway’s Aker BP together with Equinor and Poland’s LOTOS Exploration & Production Norge have taken a final investment decision (FID) to develop the NOAKA area on the Norwegian shelf utilizing a first-of-its-kind, unmanned platform concept driven by a technologically innovative operations model.

Aker BP submitted its plan for development and operation (PDO) of the NOAKA area to Norway’s Ministry of Petroleum and Energy on 16 December. The NOAKA plan was among 10 PDOs (plus one PIO for installation and operation) submitted the same day by Aker BP and its partners, representing $20.2 billion (NOK 200 billion)—a figure the company called “one of the largest private industrial developments in Europe.”

Lars Høier, Aker BP’s senior vice president for NOAKA, called the project “the next major development on the Norwegian shelf … (which is) now opening up a mature and prospective area in the North Sea.”

Accounting for $11.6 billion (NOK 115 billion) of Aker BP’s overall investment, NOAKA comprises the NOA, Fulla, and Krafla license groups located between Alvheim and Oseberg. Reserves there are estimated at 650 million BOE and are expected to account for a significant share of Aker BP’s production starting from 2027.

What’s Under the Hood? First to Market, Next-Generation Technologies

Høier said the “remotely controlled operations, unmanned production platforms, new technology and data-driven decisions and work processes” incorporated into the project set “a new standard” in field operations. “We are also digitalizing project execution with our strategic partners and suppliers,” he added.

The development concept puts Equinor in charge of the unmanned production platform (UPP) to the north at Krafla while Aker BP develops the processing, drilling, and quarters platform (NOA PdQ) to the south. The PdQ would be sparsely manned or sometimes not at all. The entire NOAKA area will be operated remotely from an integrated operations center and control room onshore in Stavanger.

The Frøy field will be developed with a normally unmanned wellhead platform that will be tied back to the NOA PdQ. NOAKA also represents an extensive subsea development with a total of nine templates. There are 55 wells planned in the area.

Gas exports will flow through a shared pipeline from the NOA PdQ via the Krafla UPP to Statpipe, while oil will be exported through a shared pipeline from the NOA PdQ to the Grane oil pipeline. Equinor will operate the gas and oil export pipelines which will be set up as separate joint ventures.

NOAKA will be developed with a shared power supply from shore, operated by Aker BP and connected to the central grid in Samnanger in Vestland County, a concept expected to minimize CO2 emission to 0.4 kg/BOE.

Names Change as PDO Transfers Operatorship

With submission of the PDO, Aker BP takes over as operator of the project (from Equinor) and enters into $5 billion (NOK 50 billion) in agreements with alliance partners and suppliers, including:

  • Aker Solutions: topsides and jackets for the NOA PdQ and the unmanned Frøy wellhead platform
  • Siemens Energy: electrical, instruments, control systems, and telecommunications
  • Subsea7: subsea umbilicals, risers, and flowlines
  • Aker Solutions: subsea production system
  • Aibel: Krafla UPP topsides
  • Hitachi Energy: electrical equipment for onshore facilities for power from shore

Aker BP has also secured rig capacity in the market, deliveries of critical equipment, as well as vessels for all major installation lifts. Equinor has on behalf of the power from shore joint venture entered into an agreement with NKT for the power cable.
In June, Equinor and Aker BP entered into an agreement to transfer operatorship for the development phase and further operation of Krafla to Aker BP at the time that the PDO would be submitted.

The change in operator also triggers a renaming of the license areas as the name for NOA (the southern license group) and Krafla (the northern license group) become Hugin and Munin, respectively, and the entire NOAKA area will be called Yggdrasil.

As such, the PdQ platform in the south becomes Hugin A, the NUI platform is renamed Hugin B, and the UPP platform to the north will be named Munin.

Equity breakouts per license areas include: Hugin (Aker BP, 87.7%; LOTOS, 12.3%); Fulla (Aker BP, 47.7%; Equinor, 40%; LOTOS, 12.3%); and Munin (Aker BP, 50%; Equinor, 50%).