Wintershall and its partners Petoro and Spirit Energy have commenced production from the NOK15.3bn ($1.85bn) Maria field offshore Norway, one year ahead of schedule.

Located in the Haltenbanken area of the southern Norwegian Sea, some 200 kilometers from the mainland, the Maria is a subsea field, producing hydrocarbons via underwater templates.

Wintershall exploration and production in Europe and Middle East executive board member Martin Bachmann said: “The experience gained in the Maria project will serve as a blue-print, for our Nova development, previously known as Skarfjell, and worldwide.”

The field is estimated to have recoverable reserves of around 180 million barrels of oil equivalent (boe), with majority being oil.

According to the company, the field’s final investment costs reaches around NOK12bn ($1.4bn) which is more than NOK3bn ($360m) below the original estimated budget.

Wintershall said it has awarded more than 90% of all contracts related to Maria field to companies based in Norway.

Claimed to be most complex underwater projects in the world, the Maria field is connected through subsea tiebacks to the Statoil-operated Kristin, Heidrun and Åsgard B production platforms.

Maria Project head Jens Balmer said: “It is a complex plan, but we focused on simple execution. By using tried and tested components, and working closely with excellent suppliers, we have delivered a field that will continue to return value to us, our partners, and the whole of Norway, for many years to come.”

The Maria well stream will reach the Kristin platform for processing while the Heidrun platform will supply water for injection into the reservoir. The Åsgard B would provide the lift gas through the Tyrihans subsea template.

The Åsgard field will receive the processed oil for storage and offloading to shuttle tankers.

Located about 20km east of the Kristin field and about 45km south of the Heidrun field in the Halten Terrace , the Maria field is operated and 50% owned by Wintershall Norge.

The other partners in the project include Petoro with 30% share and Spirit Energy holding the remaining 20%.

Image: Illustration of the Maria field development project offshore Norway. Photo: courtesy of Wintershall Holding GmbH.