The Gjøa oil and gas field developed by Statoil began production at 15.24, 7 November, opening the way for more activity in the northernmost part of the Norwegian North Sea.
"We envisage that its facilities can make this field a hub for developments in this area," says Øystein Michelsen, executive vice president for Exploration & Production Norway.
The Vega gas satellite is also due to come on stream in the near future. Operated by Statoil, it has been developed with subsea installations tied back to Gjøa.
"Oil and gas are set to flow from Gjøa for at least 15 years to come," says Michelsen. "However, we've seen that technology advances and the recovery factor constantly improves.
"There are also openings for further development in the area, so the field's platform and infrastructure has been designed for a producing life of at least 30 years.
The Gjøa platform in the North Sea. (Photo: Martin Lindland)
Bringing Gjøa on stream marks the completion of an extensive development job for Statoil, notes project director Kjetil Digre.
"Almost 20 million work-hours have been performed. I'm now very pleased that production is under way."
Gjøa is named after the ship used by Norwegian Polar explorer Roald Amundsen, and the vision for the development has been "based on history, built for the future".
The project has been implemented in line with that slogan, says Digre: "We've taken good care of our historical experience from earlier developments.
"At the same time, creativity and foresight have been important for the many complex decisions we've had to take along the way. That's taught us new lessons."
The Gjøa platform is the world's first production floater to receive its power from land. Electricity is transmitted through a 100-kilometre cable from Mongstad north of Bergen.
This reduces carbon emissions on the field by about 210,000 tonnes per year. It is only the second Norwegian offshore installation to be powered in this way, after Troll A.
The project has demonstrated that Norwegian industry is competitive, with such companies responsible for 70% of the project.
Work on fabricating the platform and its associated infrastructure began in 2007. Costing some NOK 40 billion, the Gjøa/Vega project has been completed on schedule.
"This is a profitable investment, both for the licensees and for Norway," emphasises Digre.
• Development of the field is based on innovative use of known technology which Statoil has good experience with using, and includes a semi-submersible production platform.
• Five subsea templates are tied back to this installation, and will be supplemented by a further three such units when Vega comes on stream.
• Recoverable reserves in Gjøa are put at 82 million barrels of oil and condensate and 40 billion cubic metres of gas.
• Vega is expected to yield 26 million barrels of condensate and 18 billion cubic metres of gas.
• This oil and gas field was discovered in 1989.
• Statoil has been the development operator, with GDF Suez replacing it for the production phase. Statoil will continue to be a partner in the field.
• The platform stands 45 kilometres from land at the northernmost end of the North Sea.
• Oil from Gjøa will be piped to Mongstad via the Troll II line.
• Gas will be piped through the British Flags system to St Fergus in the UK.
• More than 200 km pipeline were laid on the seabed.
• Gjøa's supply base lies in Florø.
The licensees are:
• GDF Suez 30% (production operator)
• Petoro 30%
• Statoil 20% (development operator)
• Shell 12%
• RWE Dea 8%.