Oil & Gas
Equinor Planning for Shutdown of Veslefrikk Field
After more than 30 years on stream and over 400 million barrels of oil equivalent the Veslefrikk partnership is now planning for shutdown of the field
After more than 30 years on stream and over 400 million barrels of oil equivalent the Veslefrikk partnership is now planning for shutdown of the field in the spring of 2022. The plugging of wells has already started. The field was discovered in 1981, and when it came on stream in 1989, Veslefrikk’s development concept, as a first on the Norwegian continental shelf, consisted of a floating production unit. The partnership has invested some NOK 20 billion in Veslefrikk, and the field’s productive life has been extended several times. When the plan for development and production was submitted the field was expected to be shut down as early as in 2009.
The floating unit Veslefrikk B is a semi-submersible production platform tied in to the fixed wellhead platform Veslefrikk A. In 2002 the field also became the host of Huldra with a shared control room and crew, in addition to processing condensate from this now decommissioned field. Veslefrikk is operated from Sandsli outside Bergen, where it is organised together with the operation of the Oseberg area.
The Veslefrikk development was important to the development of regulations for the use of floating installations in the petroleum industry, which have seen a sharp increase. Veslefrikk B was originally the West Vision drilling rig, owned by Smedvig in Stavanger. The rig was purchased by the then Statoil for conversion to petroleum production, and Smedvig won the contract for staffing maritime crews and drilling services.
An environmental impact assessment has been conducted and a decommissioning plan for Veslefrikk was sent to the authorities in the autumn of 2020. The newly established Field Life Extension (FLX) business area has the corporate responsibility for implementing decommissioning projects for Equinor on the Norwegian continental shelf.
Veslefrikk B will be towed to shore for dismantling in the autumn of 2022 and Veslefrikk A is scheduled to be removed in 2025/26.
Three large-size contracts associated with the removal work are scheduled to be awarded in the first half of 2021:
a) The removal and dismantling of Veslefrikk A, which is an “Engineering, Preparation, Removal and Disposal” (EPRD) contract that covers all work in connection with the removal of the platform and subsequent dismantling and recycling.
b) The dismantling and recycling of Veslefrikk B.
c) Work on the seabed in connection with export pipeline cleaning and disconnection.
In addition, contracts for the planning, management and implementation of the towing of Veslefrikk B to shore will be established in the same way as in 1999, when Veslefrikk B was at Stord for upgrading.