Scotland business

First oil flows from west of Shetland field

Solan field Image copyright Premier Oil
Image caption The Solan field field lies about 85 miles west of Shetland

Premier Oil has announced that the Solan field west of Shetland has produced its first oil.

The London-based company said the first producer well was being "naturally flowed at a deliberately restricted initial rate".

Premier plans to shut down production after an "initial period" to complete a series of tasks, including preparing for the tie-in of a second well.

The company had hoped to achieve first oil in the fourth quarter of 2015.

But it was forced to postpone its plans due to "unprecedented weather conditions".

Production from the field, which lies about 85 miles west of Shetland, is expected to build up to between 20,000 and 25,000 barrels of oil per day in the second half of this year.

Last year Premier reduced the valuation of its 100%-owned Solan field by $385m (£270m), partly due to an increase in the cost of getting it to production.

The company was also forced to re-negotiate its debt conditions with lenders, after being hit by the continued low oil price.

Premier has an existing portfolio of about 10 development projects, the bulk of which they operate. These include the Catcher and Solan projects - both of which are on the UK Continental Shelf - the Vette project in Norway and other projects in Indonesia.

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