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BP optimistic for UK Kinnoull economics

Despite falling oil prices BP is retaining a positive outlook of the North Sea field

BP hints it is comfortable with the economics of its new Kinnoull field, in the UK’s central North Sea, despite the oil price now being only half what it was when the development was launched. The firm says it sanctioned the project, in 2011, on the basis of likely oil prices over the field-lifetime of a decade or more. Kinnoull will also benefit the firm by extending the life of nearby Andrew field infrastructure.

Kinnoull was developed as a subsea tie-back to the Andrew platform, where production was dwindling after flowing since 1996. With the Andrew platform refurbished to handle the flow from Kinnoull, it will be possible to keep the Andrew field in production for another decade. In that time, another new Andrew-area field is likely to join the development. 

BP is expecting a peak output of 50,000 barrels of oil-equivalent a day (boe/d) from Kinnoull and Andrew, of which Kinnoull will account for 45,000 boe/d. Andrew was taken out of production in 2011 for the platform work, coming back on-stream in October. 

The Kinnoull development was costed at £0.7 billion ($1.1bn) when the project was launched, to recover reserves of 45 million boe. It uses three subsea wells, with fluids transported to the platform in a 28 km pipeline bundle - which BP says is the longest worldwide. The bundle contains three internal pipes - an insulated 14 inch production line, a six-inch gas-lift line and a three-inch methanol line. It was constructed in four 7 km sections.

At the platform, 230 km off Aberdeen and at a water-depth of 116 metres, a caisson and a 130 metre riser were installed to carry the fluids to the topsides. Processing is carried out in a new 700 tonne module, with oil sent to the Forties pipeline for landing and gas injected into the Cats pipeline. 

Mid-way in the pipeline bundle is a tie-in which could take production from the Arundel oilfield, which BP is studying for development. There is also the possibility of exploiting a deeper reservoir at Andrew. 

The pipeline bundle sections were manufactured by Subsea 7 at its Wick yard, and the same firm carried out subsea construction. Other main contracts went to Wood Group (offshore construction), Cameron (subsea trees), Vetco Grey (subsea controls) and Heerema (the process module).

BP holds 77.06% of Kinnoull, with JX Nippon Exploration & Production holding the other 22.94%. JX Nippon, a large refining and energy company in Japan, bought the interest in 2012 as part of an acquisition of non-operating assets from Eni. Interests in Andrew are BP, 62.75%, JX Nippon, 27.39% and Sinopec’s Talisman, 9.86%.

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