The Buzzard field is one of the biggest oil fields in the UK North Sea which has been in production since January 2007.

CNOOC Petroleum Europe, a subsidiary of China’s state-run CNOOC, is the operator and holds a 43.21% stake, while the other partners in the field development are Suncor Energy UK (29.89%), Harbour Energy (21.73%), and One-Dyas UK (5.16%).

The project partners reached a final investment decision (FID) on the Buzzard phase II development in August 2018. The UK Oil and Gas Authority approved the field development plan for the phase two expansion in the same month, while the front-end engineering design (FEED) study for the project was completed in June 2018.

Expected to commence production by the end of 2021, the Buzzard phase II project involves the subsea development of the unexploited northern part of the Buzzard field.

CNOOC Petroleum Europe was earlier known as Nexen Petroleum UK. Harbour Energy picked up a 21.73% stake in the Buzzard field from Shell UK in November 2017.

Location and site details

The Buzzard field is located in the Outer Moray Firth, in the central North Sea, approximately 96km northeast of Aberdeen, UK. The field is spread across 19/10a, 20/6a, 19/5a, and 20/1a South blocks covering P986 and P928 production licenses. The water depth in the field area is approximately 96m.

The Buzzard phase II development is situated approximately 5km northeast of the existing Buzzard complex.

Buzzard phase II project details

The Buzzard phase II expansion involves the drilling of eight production wells and four water injection wells, as well as the installation of associated subsea equipment, including a 12-slot manifold, and a new process module on the Buzzard production platform to handle additional production from the new development.

The wells will be tied back to the Buzzard complex through a subsea bundled pipeline system. The pipeline system comprises a production pipeline, a production test pipeline, a water injection pipeline, a gas lift pipeline, and control umbilical.

Buzzard complex details

The Buzzard complex consists of four platforms, including a wellhead platform, a production platform, a hydrogen sulphide stripping platform, and a utilities and quarters platform. The topsides of the platforms sit on steel jackets, while all four platforms are interconnected by three bridges.

The Buzzard field produces sour crude oil which is initially processed at the Buzzard complex. The oil produced in Buzzard field is transported through the Ineos-operated Forties Pipeline System (FPS) to the Kinneil terminal, Grangemouth, Scotland, while the gas output is pumped through the Frigg system to the St Fergus Gas Terminal, Scotland.

Recently awarded contracts

Baker Hughes (BHGE) bagged a contract to supply oilfield equipment and provide oilfield services for the Buzzard Phase II project from CNOOC International in August 2018. The scope of the contract includes the supply of six medium-water horizontal subsea trees for production and water injection wells, as well as wellheads, and subsea and topside control systems.

The oilfield services provided by BHGE include integrated drilling, evaluation, completions, intervention services, and other well-related services.

Subsea 7 was awarded a subsea contract worth up to £115m ($150m) for the Buzzard phase II development in August 2018.

The scope of the contract includes project management, engineering, procurement, construction, and installation of a 5km-long pipeline bundle, as well as associated well and platform tie-ins, transport, and installation of a new topside module. Subsea 7’s pipeline bundle fabrication facility at Wick, Scotland, will supply the pipeline bundle.

WorleyParsons bagged an engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) contract for the new topside module in August 2018.  

The scope of the contract includes the module fabrication, brownfield modification works, module landing preparation, and the associated tie-ins, as well as the topsides module hook-up, pre-commissioning, and commissioning services. The topsides module was fabricated at Rosenberg Worley’s fabrication yard in Stavanger, Norway.

AllSeas’ construction vessel Pioneering Spirit was used to transport the topside module, weighing approximately 516t, from the Rosenberg Worley’s fabrication facility in Stavanger, Norway. It was installed on the southwest corner of the Buzzard production platform in July 2020.

The 27m-long, 18m-tall topside module consists of processing units, utilities, and controls equipment for handling the well stream of the Buzzard field phase II development. Rosenberg Worley is expected to execute the hook-up and commissioning of the module in 2021.

AGR Well Management was also contracted for the Buzzard field expansion project in 2018, whileCOSL Drilling Europe bagged the drilling contract for the project in August 2018. Semi-submersible drilling rig COSLPioneer was selected to execute the contract.

Prosafe received the charter contract for Safe Boreas to provide accommodation support at the Buzzard complex in February 2021. The contract commenced in April 2021 with a firm duration of 100 days.