NSTA gives Equinor consent to develop Rosebank oil field offshore UK to boost domestic energy security

September 27, 2023

(WO) – Equinor and Ithaca Energy have taken the final investment decision to progress Phase 1 of the Rosebank oil field on the UK Continental Shelf (UKCS), investing $3.8 billion.

Courtesy of Equinor

The North Sea Transition Authority (NSTA) granted consent for the development of the field on Sep. 27.

“Developing the Rosebank field will allow us to grow our position as a broad energy partner to the UK, while optimizing our oil and gas portfolio, and increasing energy supply in Europe. Rosebank provides an opportunity to develop a field within the UK Continental Shelf which will bring significant benefits to Scotland and the wider UK,” says Geir Tungesvik, Executive Vice President of Projects, Drilling and Procurement at Equinor.

The Rosebank oil field is located around 130 km north-west of Shetland in approximately 1,100 m of water depth. Total recoverable resources are estimated at around 300 MMboe, with Phase 1 targeting estimated 245 MMboe.

The field will be developed with subsea wells tied back to a redeployed Floating Production Storage and Offloading vessel (FPSO), with start-up planned in 2026-2027. Oil will be transported to refineries by shuttle tankers, while gas will be exported through the West of Shetland Pipeline system to mainland Scotland.

The Rosebank oil and gas field is being developed in compliance with the North Sea Transition Deal, an agreement between the UK government and the offshore industry. It acknowledges that, while there is a continued need for oil and gas, the remaining demand for oil and gas must be met with the lowest emissions possible.

The FPSO has been designed to be electrification ready, and Equinor is collaborating with government and industry to pursue a regional solution for power from shore to Rosebank and nearby fields to minimize carbon emissions from production.

According to an independent socioeconomic report by Wood Mackenzie and Voar Energy, Rosebank is estimated to create £8.1 billion in total direct investment over the lifetime of the field, of which 78% is likely to be invested in UK-based businesses. It is expected to support around 1,600 jobs during the height of the construction phase of the project, and it will continue to support roughly 450 UK-based jobs during the lifetime of the field.

"We know that the world needs to transition to new, cleaner energy systems, and our broad energy investments into the UK support this. And while we do this, there is going to be a continued need for oil and gas, which currently meets 76% of the UK’s energy needs. Our decision to progress the Rosebank development is the result of work and collaboration by our employees, partners, government, regulators, and other stakeholders to ensure that this development is able to help meet this ongoing need, with the lowest carbon footprint possible,” says Arne Gürtner, Senior Vice President of Upstream at Equinor in the UK.

TechnipFMC has been awarded an integrated engineering, procurement, construction and installation (iEPCI™) contract for subsea production systems, umbilicals, risers and flowlines with an estimated value of around $500 million for the local content part. TechnipFMC has estimated that more than half of the contract value will be generated from local activities across the UK, with a large portion in Scotland.

Project management and engineering activities will be performed mainly in Aberdeen, and tree systems will be manufactured in Dunfermline. Umbilicals will be produced in Newcastle, pipelines will be fabricated in Evanton, and the main vessel mobilization site will also be in the UK. In addition, several other fabrication sites in the UK will contribute to the project.

Odfjell Drilling has been awarded a rig contract, with an estimated value of $328 million including integrated services, modifications and options. The Deepsea Atlantic mobile rig is scheduled to start a seven-well drilling campaign in the second quarter of 2025, and in addition four single well options are included.

Altera has been awarded a bareboat charter and an operations and maintenance contract related to the Petrojarl Knarr FPSO, which is set to be deployed on the Rosebank field on a firm contract for nine years, and options up to a total of 25 years.

Lead image: The Petrojarl Knarr FPSO (Photo: Altera)

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