Shell and Ithaca Energy have completed the Pierce redevelopment project in the Central North Sea of the UK Continental Shelf to enable the production of gas.

Discovered in 1975, the Pierce field, located offshore Scotland, has been producing only oil since its start-up in early 1999.

Shell and Ithaca Energy took a final investment decision (FID) on the Pierce depressurisation project in October 2019.

The Pierce redevelopment project involved significant modifications made to the Haewene Brim floating production, storage and offloading vessel (FPSO), which has been used for producing hydrocarbons at the field.

A new subsea gas export line has also been laid to connect the Shell Esso Gas and Associated Liquids (SEGAL) pipeline system, which delivers gas to the shore at St Fergus, north of Aberdeen.

Shell upstream director Zoe Yujnovich said: “The completion of this major project is testament to Shell’s long-standing commitment to the UK North Sea. We took this investment decision in 2019, and it is now increasing locally produced gas right at the time when this additional supply is critically important for the UK’s energy security.”

The Haewene Brim FPSO has been now restarted for the first time since it stopped production in October 2021 to go through the repair and life-time extension and modification programme.

Owned and operated by Bluewater, the FPSO was in dry dock in Aibel’s shipyard in Haugesund, Norway for nearly six months to transform into a vessel that can also produce gas, which was re-injected previously into the reservoir.

Following the completion of the Pierce redevelopment project, the peak production of the offshore Scottish field is projected to reach 30,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day. This is more than two times the production before the redevelopment project, with more gas to be produced than oil.

Shell is the operator of the Pierce field with a stake of 92.52%, while Ithaca Energy holds a stake of 7.48%.

Ithaca Energy CEO Alan Bruce said: “We are delighted that operations have resumed at the Pierce field, with the redevelopment project highlighting Ithaca Energy’s commitment to invest in the UK North Sea at a time where additional supply is critical to the UK’s Energy Security Strategy.”