Gas supplies from the UK sector of the Southern North Sea are to be stepped by BP through depressurising the gas supply lines which reach the Dimlington landing terminal and a major investment in compression equipment.
BP announced today that it is spend £125 million (US $250 million) upgrading gas compression equipment at Dimlington which will allow the depressurisation of production lines from the West Sole and Amethyst gas fields, allowing those fields to increase output.
"BP expects remaining recoverable reserves in West Sole and Amethyst fields to increase by around 30% as a result of this project", the operator said today.
Throughput at Dimlington and Easington is currently around 500 MMcf/d and the compression upgrade and the expected 30% production improvement will offset natural field declines, so overall, throughput at the terminals will remain approximately the same.
And BP’s North Sea business unit leader Dave Blackwood added: "At a time when developing new gas resources in the UK is a great challenge, with low gas prices and rising development costs, this innovative project will make a valuable contribution to boosting indigenous gas reserves, sustaining production and extending the life of existing UKCS infrastructure."
However the move will mean the closure of the neighbouring and unmanned Easington terminal which will be decommissioned.
Production from West Sole - the first North Sea to produce gas to shore to Easington in 1967 - and other Southern North Sea fields Hyde, Newsham and Hoton, will be diverted to Dimlington once the pipeline depressurisation and compression work is done.
Subject to approval of planning permission from the local authority in Yorkshire, the new Dimlington systems are due to come online either late 2008 or early 2009.