Restart of operations completed at North Sea’s Pierce field after major redevelopment to enable gas production
26 April 2023
Shell’s UK subsidiary has completed the restart of operations at the Pierce field in the UK Central North Sea, following a significant upgrade to allow gas to be produced after years of the field producing only oil. Pierce is a joint venture between Shell and Ithaca Energy with Shell being the operator.
Image: Ithaca Energy
Substantial modifications were made to the Haewene Brim floating production, storage and offloading vessel (FPSO), which is used to produce hydrocarbons at the Pierce field. A new subsea gas export line was also installed, connecting to the SEGAL (Shell Esso Gas and Associated Liquids) pipeline system, which brings gas ashore at St Fergus, north of Aberdeen.
Shell Upstream Director, Zoe Yujnovich, said: “The completion of this major project is testament to Shell’s long-standing commitment to the UK North Sea. We took this investment decision in 2019, and it is now increasing locally produced gas right at the time when this additional supply is critically important for the UK’s energy security. It’s a source of huge satisfaction when projects like Pierce come to fruition.”
To enable the upgrade, the FPSO, which is owned and operated by Bluewater, stopped producing in October 2021. It then spent six months in dry dock where it was transformed into a vessel that could also produce gas, which had previously been re-injected into the reservoir.
Peak production is expected to reach 30,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day, which is more than twice the production prior to the redevelopment, with more gas being produced than oil. The gas will be sent through newly installed subsea pipelines and the oil will be transported by tanker, as before.
Alan Bruce, Chief Executive Officer of Ithaca Energy, commented: “We are delighted that operations have resumed at the Pierce field, with the redevelopment project highlighting Ithaca Energy’s commitment to invest in the UK North Sea at a time where additional supply is critical to the UK’s Energy Security Strategy”.