AKER BP – 35 YEARS OLD ULA FIELD WILL PRODUCE OIL FOR AT LEAST 10 MORE YEARS
“When the Ula field was officially opened on October 1986, the ambition was to produce for 10–11 years. Over the course of 35 years, it has produced more than three times what was expected at start-up. The goal is to continue operations until 2032” Aker BP said.
The Ula field, which is located in the southern part of the North Sea in a water depth of 70 meters, is a key part of the Norwegian petroleum history
In 1976, BP purchased two-thirds of licence 019. This was the first licence the company acquired on the Norwegian shelf, and it included a licence obligation to drill two wildcat wells.
The first well was drilled shortly after the acquisition. Oil was encountered at a depth of 3,378 metres. The oil discovery was made just 70 metres below the point where a previous wildcat well was terminated in 1968.
With an ownership interest of 70 per cent, BP stepped into the role of operator for the subsequent Ula development, and the company established itself with a headquarters in Stavanger.
The Ula field was developed with three platforms (living quarters, drilling and process platforms) connected by bridges. The oil is transported to the Ekofisk Complex, and further to Teesside in the UK. Until 1998, gas was transported from Ula to Ekofisk via Cod.
When the field came on stream in 1986, the objective was to produce 160 million barrels of oil over approx. 11 years.
However, the potential was much greater. Overall, it was presumed that close to a billion barrels of oil and NGL were present in Ula’s primary reservoir in sandstone from the Late Jurassic. This meant that the start of production was also the start of a technology race to improve recovery from the field.
The most important technology milestone was the introduction of alternating water injection and gas injection (WAG), which started in 1998. The Ula field was one of the first in the world to alternate between injecting gas and water in order to produce more oil from the reservoir. Since WAG was introduced just over 20 years ago, all produced gas has been injected back into the Ula reservoir to increase oil recovery.
Following the discovery of Ula in 1976, a number of production and injection wells have been drilled on the field. There has also been extensive exploration activity in the surrounding area. Among other things, the neighbouring Tambar field was discovered in 1983 and developed with a normally unmanned platform that is remotely operated from Ula.
Aker BP ASA is an oil exploration and development company focusing petroleum resources on the Norwegian Continental Shelf. It is present all over Norway. The headquarters are in Fornebu with additional offices in Trondheim, Stavanger, Oslo and Harstad. Aker holds 40% of the company’s shares, BP 30% and the remaining 30% is freely traded on the Oslo Børs.
(Source and image: Aker BP – Offshore facilities on Ula field)
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