The Balder field has been in production since 1999. Image courtesy of vår energi.
The Ringhorne field was brought on-stream in 2003. Image courtesy of vår energi.
The Jotun FPSO will be upgraded and reinstalled in the Balder field area, as part of the Balder X project. Image courtesy of vår energi.

Balder X Project, formerly known as the Balder Future project, involves redevelopment of the Balder and Ringhorne fields located offshore Norway.

The NOK15bn ($1.73bn) project aims to recover 170 million barrels of additional oil discovery and extend the production life of the two fields up to 2045.

The Balder and Ringhorne fields are currently owned and operated by Vår Energi, a joint venture between Eni (69.6%), a company based in Italy, and HitecVision (30.4%), an equity investor based in Norway.

The Balder X Project involves drilling of additional production wells and upgrade and life extension of the existing Balder and Jotun floating production storage and offloading (FPSO) units.

Front-end engineering and design (FEED) contract for one of the FPSOs was awarded in December 2018.

Final investment decision (FID) and the start of drilling campaign for the expansion project are expected in 2019.

Balder X project background

Located in 125m-deep waters of the Norwegian North Sea, the Balder field was discovered in 1967 and brought into production in September 1999. It was one of the first fields on the Norwegian continental shelf to use a permanent FPSO.

The Ringhorne field, located 9km north of the Balder FPSO, was developed with a combined accommodation, drilling, and wellhead facility. Both Balder and Ringhorne offshore fields were originally owned and developed by ExxonMobil.

The Ringhorne field was tied-back to the Balder FPSO for crude oil processing and storage and to the Jotun FPSO for gas export. Production from Ringhorne was started in 2003.

Point Resources, a company backed by HitecVision, acquired ExxonMobil’s Norwegian assets including the Balder, Ringhorne, and Jotun fields in November 2017.

Point Resources was merged with Eni’s Norwegian subsidiary Eni Norge to create an integrated company named Vår Energi in December 2018.

Balder X project details

The Balder X project entails the drilling of 15 new production wells in the Balder field area and 11 new production wells in the Ringhorne field area. It also involves extension of the Balder FPSO’s life up to 2045 and that of the Jotun FPSO up to 2030.

The 211m-long and 36m-wide Balder FPSO currently operating in the Balder field area has ten crude oil tanks. It has a storage capacity of 380,000 barrels of crude and can offload 31,500 barrels of oil an hour.

The Jotun FPSO, currently located in the Jotun field area, receives oil and gas from the Ringhorne as well as the excess gas from the Balder field. The FPSO has been exclusively serving the Balder and Ringhorne fields after production from the Jotun field ceased in 2016.

The Jotun FPSO will be dislocated from its present position and brought to shore for its upgrade to support extended operational life. After one year of yard-stay, the FPSO will be reinstalled in the area between the Balder and Ringhorne fields.

The reinstalled Jotun FPSO is expected to commence operation in 2021.

Balder and Ringhorne reservoir details

Lying at a depth of 1,700m beneath the seabed, the Balder and Ringhorne deposits comprises sandstone of Jurassic, Paleocene, and Eocene age.

Contractors involved

Aker Solutions was awarded the front-end engineering and design (FEED) contract worth NOK100m ($11.52m) for the life extension of the Jotun FPSO in December 2018.