NE Scotland, Orkney & Shetland

Platforms installed as £4.5bn Clair oil project proceeds

Clair Ridge, North Sea, oil field jacket
Image caption An installation barge was used to put the drilling and production jacket into the sea bed

The latest milestone in the development of a "monster" oil field has been completed.

The jackets for the drilling production and living quarters platforms for the Clair Ridge project have been safely installed.

Clair Ridge is a £4.5bn investment in the second phase of development on the Clair field.

The development will produce about 640m barrels of oil over 40 years.

The Clair field was discovered in the late 1970s but, because of the technical difficulties in bringing oil ashore, actual production did not start until 2005.

Oil industry experts have described it as a "monster" field containing an estimated eight billion barrels of oil and some analysts believe oil produced there could see the Atlantic overtake the North Sea as the UK's biggest oil-producing region.

The field is being developed by BP and co-venturers ConocoPhillips, Chevron and Shell who are involved in the project.

Clair Ridge lies 75km west of the Shetland Islands.

The project involves two new bridge-linked platforms, as well as new pipeline infrastructure to connect to processing facilities on Shetland.

The next major milestone is the installation of the platform topsides, scheduled for 2015, with production expected to commence in late 2016.

When Clair Ridge reaches its peak, it is expected to produce up to 120,000 barrels of oil per day.

The project is headquartered in London, where more than 750 people currently employed.

Clair Ridge is the first sanctioned large-scale offshore enhanced oil recovery (EOR) scheme using reduced salinity water injection (LoSal® EOR) to extract a higher proportion of oil over the life of the field.

Image caption The living quarters jacket has been safely installed at the Clair Ridge field

To reduce the environmental impact of the project, the platforms will be powered using dual-fuel power generators, incorporating waste heat recovery technology.

Vapour recovery will also be used to capture and recycle low pressure gas for use as fuel or for exporting to shore.

Trevor Garlick, regional president for BP's North Sea business, said: "Less than two years ago we announced our decision to invest in the giant Clair Ridge project.

"The safe installation of the two jackets in to the sea bed is a fantastic achievement by the project team, and is a very visible sign of our commitment to maintaining a successful long term business in the UK."

The Clair Ridge facilities are designed to continue producing until 2050.

The Clair Ridge facilities consist of two bridge-linked fixed steel jacket platforms and topsides, comprising a drilling and production platform and a quarters and utilities platform.

The jackets are constructed from tubular steel piled into the seabed.

About 30% of the £2.1bn base cost of the project is in the UK and around 80% of the estimated £1.1bn of drilling costs will be spent in the UK.

The platform jackets were made at the Kvaerner yard in Verdal, Norway. In Norwegian tradition they have been formally named.

The largest is called Odin, after the most powerful Norse god, reflecting the size of the jacket. The smaller jacket has been named Frigg - Odin's wife.

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