Norwegian oil and gas company StatoilHydro has started drilling the first of a total of 13 production wells on the Gjoa field in the North Sea.

According to the company, the Gjoa field is located in the Sogn area of the North Sea. With this development, a new part of the North Sea is being opened for oil and gas production. The Vega and Vega South satellites will be developed with subsea installations and tied back to Gjoa.

StatoilHydro has announced that it will have close to 20 vessels in operation in the Gjoa area during 2009. The field will be developed with a semi-submersible platform and five subsea templates. The topside will be constructed in Korea and shipped to Stord where the living quarters will be built. It said that the Gjoa platform will be assembled in the summer of 2009. Towing to the field and production start-up is scheduled for 2010.

The company said that gas will be transported in a 130 kilometre-long pipeline to the British pipeline Flags for further transport to Scotland. The oil will be transported in a 55-kilometre pipeline to the Troll field in the North Sea and sent in the Troll II oil pipeline to the StatoilHydro-operated Mongstad refinery north of Bergen.

Kjetel Digre, StatoilHydro’s vice president, said: “The first well to be drilled on Gjoa is an appraisal well in the northern segment. The information gathered here will be important when we are going to look at the overall plan for wells and drainage strategy for Gjoa.”