Equinor To Give Oseberg a $1.1-Billion Lift

New phase to venerable field ushers in natural gas, lower-emissions focus.

Equinor Oseberg platform.
Equinor Oseberg platform.
Source: Oyvind Hagen/Harald Pettersen

Equinor has filed an amended plan for development and operation (PDO) with Norway’s Minister of Petroleum and Energy to increase Oseberg gas production while reducing CO2 emissions from the Oseberg Field Centre and the Oseberg South platform.

The estimated $1.1-billion plan signals a shift in the Oseberg field from being an oil producer to becoming a natural gas producer with large remaining gas resources. Two new compressors will be installed to boost recoverable gas volumes and the Field Centre and South platform will be partially electrified.

“It is important to Equinor and the Oseberg partners to produce oil and gas with the lowest possible emission level,” said Geir Tungesvik, Equinor’s senior vice president for project development. “This investment decision allows us to increase production of Oseberg gas considerably in the future, while reducing CO2 emissions by an estimated 320,000 tonnes per year. We are now entering the execution phase with highly qualified suppliers.”

Aibel AS has been awarded a $443-million contract for engineering, procurement, construction, and installation for partial electrification of the Field Centre and South platform, as well as upgrading of the gas processing capacity on the Field Centre.

Nexans has been awarded a $88.6-million framework contract by Equinor for delivering subsea power cables. Its first assignment will be to deliver a 132-km cable, to be installed by the Nexans Aurora in 2023.

Heerema Marine Contractors has been awarded a contract for transport and installation at an estimated value of $6.6 million. In 2024, the Sleipnir vessel is scheduled for lifting in place the three big modules currently under construction at Aibel’s yard in Haugesund.

Equinor said rebuilding of the Field Centre will take 4 years and will be done while the plants are in full operation. Startup of the new facility is expected in 2026.

Oseberg is the third-largest oil producer ever on the Norwegian Continental Shelf (NCS). When it came on stream in 1988, it was expected to produce around 1 billion bbl of oil. Today, that number is expected to total around 3.2 billion bbl. Oil production is in the tail phase, but 60% of the gas resources are still in the ground. Oseberg is also one of the major gas fields; only Troll and Snøhvit have more remaining gas resources on the NCS.

“With this investment we open a new chapter of the story of Oseberg, which is about to become one of the main Norwegian gas producers,” said Geir Sørtveit, Equinor’s senior vice president for exploration and production west. “We expect Oseberg to produce more than 100 billion sm3 of gas towards 2040. In terms of energy, the annual gas export from Oseberg will equal a quarter of all Norwegian hydropower.”

For the year 2020, Oseberg emissions totaled around 1 million tonnes of CO2. Since 2010, emissions have been reduced by around 15%, and Equinor aims to further reduce emissions by 50–70% by 2030.

Equinor is the operator with a 49.3% stake. Partners include Petoro (33.6%), TotalEnergies EP Norge (14.7%), and ConocoPhillips (2.4%).