North Sea ‘very much’ part of Maersk Oil’s growth plans

Maersk Oil claims the UK North Sea is ‘very much’ part of the Danish operator’s international growth plans.

It comes after the oil division of the Danish conglomerate posted strong half yearly results.

Profits were up £80million year-on-year to $205millon at the end of June.

And revenues jumped 18.7% to £2.1billion due to cost cutting and lower exploration costs.

Chief Executive Gretchen Watkins said the £3.3billion Culzean project is more than halfway complete and the Gryphon Floating Production and Storage Offloading vessel reached a milestone of 200million barrels produced earlier this month.

As well as the Gryphon field, it also takes on product from subsea tiebacks from the Maclure and Tullich developments.

Ms Watkins said: “The North Sea will remain, very much, a focus of ours. Not just in the near term but also in the medium to longer term growth.

“We have a strong set of mature assets between Denmark and the UK.

“Most notably we’ve had some great milestones in the UK.

“The Gryphon FPSO reached 200million barrels produced on August 2. This is multiple fields that flow through the FPSO.

“When we sanctioned it we expected end of field life to be around 2008. So we’ve far exceeded the economic life of this and continue to achieve really significant value through infill drilling.”

Ms Watkins said that there are three main projects due to come into play in the next 18 to 24 months, which will continue to add value to the company.

This is despite UK production levels dropping due to the ongoing decommissioning of the Janice field.

She said: “On top of the near term cash generation and near term performance, we have a strong pipeline of mid-term growth projects which start coming on stream in 18 to 24 months, really headlined by our Culzean project in the UK.

“We hit several milestones in the execution of that project in the second quarter. First we laid all of the pipelines associated with that project and secondly we have set in place the final two jackets and cemented those in place. Lastly we have started drilling the high pressure high temperature reservoir of the first well.

“We have been doing a batch drilling technique on this so we drilled the top holes of the first six wells and we have now entered the reservoir section, which of course is more technically challenge.

“The second big project is the Johan Sverdrup and we are really pleased to be a partner in that one.”

The Statoil operated flagship project, in which Maersk has a is 8.44% stake, is now more than halfway complete.

The third major project will be the rebuilding of the sinking Tyra gas field in Denmark, a critical piece of gas infrastructure that has suffered from seabed subsidence.

A final investment decision between the Tyra project partners is due later this year, according to Ms Watkins.

She added: “We continue to improve how we operate while at the same time bringing our costs down.

“That’s really the driver to our performance.”

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