Leadon field FPSO inauguratedNews // September 7, 2001
The FPSO will be used by Kerr-McGee to extract oil from the Leadon field, which is one of the largest developments by any company in the North Sea this year.
Wilson said: "The success of Leadon, which is expected to produce some 50,000 barrels of oil at its peak, demonstrates that there is still tremendous potential to develop our North Sea oil and gas reserves".
"It is crucial to onshore and off shore jobs that we continue to have new investment like this in the North Sea."
The FPSO - the Producer III - will be used on a field originally discovered in 1979 by the British National Oil Corporation (BNOC) but thought not to be economic.
In 1998 Kerr-McGee took a fresh look at the geology of the field using modern geophysical testing equipment. Since the DTI gave its approval to the project it has been successfully and quickly brought forward to the development stage.
Wilson added: "Leadon shows how the advances in technology continue to make possible the exploitation of fields previously thought to be uneconomic. The project has also been a great boost to the offshore fabrication industry, securing some 800 jobs forTyneside and 40 new apprenticeships at Swan Hunter. Skills shortages are a real issue for the offshore industry, so this work has made a real contribution to our skills base."
"Over seventy-five companies, spread throughout the country, have also benefited from involvement in this project, a tribute to the adaptability, innovation and competitiveness of the UK supply chain."
Looking to the future, Wilson said: "The Government is determined that the UK offshore and onshore industries should remain economically vibrant for many years to come".
PILOT, the government and industry forum, is playing a hugely important role in order to achieve this by driving forward an ambitious programme of activities to ensure that exploration, production and employment are maintained well into the 21st century".
Located in block 9/14, approximately 220 miles north east of Aberdeen, the Leadon field was discovered in 1979 by British National Oil Company but was thought sub-economic until an appraisal well drilled by Kerr-McGee in 1998 proved a northern extensionto be oil bearing.
A number of acquisitions during 1998/99 resulted in Kerr-McGee having a 100 per cent stake in the field.
The field will be developed using the FPSO which is being built at the Swan Hunter yard, using an existing Japanese built hull which was shipped to Swan Hunter who, have installed the topside processing facilities.
Halliburton - Brown & Root provided detailed engineering from Aberdeen, Rockwater were involved in fabrication of the pipeline bundles at Wick with Baker Hughes supplying the produced water package from the Midlands.
Production is expected to begin this Autumn and peak at just under 50,000 barrels per day in 2002. Oil will be stored on board the FPSO and exported via shuttle tanker. Produced gas will be used for fuel with any excess gas re-injected to assist production.
Reserves are estimated at between 120 and 170 million barrels of oil equivalent to be recovered over an expected field life of 16 years.