The Murlach field redevelopment, located in North Sea, UK, will be a subsea tieback to the ETAP central processing facility. Image courtesy of BP p.l.c.
BP, the operator of the Murlach field, plans to drill two production wells in the field. Credit: catmoz/Pixabay.
The Murlach field redevelopment project is expected to start operations in June 2025. Image courtesy of Number 10/Crown Copyright/Flickr.

The Murlach project is a planned offshore oil field redevelopment in the North Sea, UK. Previously known as the Skua field, it is expected to start production in June 2025.

BP Exploration Operating Company (BPEOC), a subsidiary of BP, is the operator of the Murlach redevelopment project with a stake of 80%, while the remaining 20% interest is held by NEO Energy Central North Sea.

The Murlach field redevelopment project environmental statement was submitted to the UK authorities in April 2022. The proposed project will be a subsea development tied back to the Eastern Trough Area Project (ETAP) central processing facility, located approximately 7km from the Murlach field.

BP and Zennor Petroleum were awarded the licence P2452 containing the Skua field in the UK’s 30th offshore licensing round in May 2018. Private equity firm HitecVision-backed NEO Energy picked up a 20% stake in the field through the acquisition of Zennor Petroleum in July 2021.

Shell was the operator of the Skua field that remained in production between 2001 and 2004. It was also a subsea tieback development to the ETAP platform.

The Murlach field redevelopment project will target the new and partially depleted areas of the Skua field. It is expected to have a production life of approximately 11 years.

Location and field details

The Murlach oil field development is located in Block 22/24h, licence P2452, Central North Sea, UK, approximately 203km off the coast of Aberdeenshire, Scotland. The water depth in the field area is approximately 93m to 95m.

Discovered in 1986, the Murlach field is estimated to contain recoverable reserves of approximately 25.9 million barrels of oil and approximately 602 million cubic metres (bcm) of gas. The resource will be extracted from a Triassic Skagerrak reservoir.

Murlach field development details

The Murlach field redevelopment project involves the drilling of two production wells, installation of a subsea manifold and other subsea infrastructure comprising two Xmas trees and flowlines to the existing production and wash water pipelines near the field.

Hydrocarbons produced by the field will be transported to the ETAP platform and the production wells will receive wash water and lift gas from the processing platform. The project is planned to tie into the subsea infrastructure of the Seagull and Heron Fields.

As part of the redevelopment project, a 100m-long production flowline will be laid from the Murlach manifold to the repurposed pipe-in-pipe Heron A production pipeline, which will further transport the wellstream to the ETAP central processing facility.

A 300m-long wash water flowline will also be constructed from the Murlach manifold to the repurposed 6in-diameter Heron wash water flowline system.

The project also comprises an approximately 500m-long umbilical that will be laid from the Murlach manifold to the Seagull field’s umbilical. An approximately 7km-long, 6in-diameter gas lift flowline will be constructed from the ETAP platform to the Murlach manifold.

The drilling of wells and subsea infrastructure installation are expected to be carried out in 2024.

ETAP processing facility details

The ETAP central processing facility commenced operations in July 1998 and is anticipated to remain in production through the 2030s.

The processing facility was serving six BP-operated fields that include Machar, Madoes, Marnock, Mirren, Monan and Mungo, as of April 2022. It will also process wellstream from the Neptune Energy-operated Seagull oil field, which is expected to start operations in 2023.

Located on the Marnock field in Block 22/24a in the UK Continental Shelf (UKCS), the ETAP platform consists of a production drilling riser platform and a quarters and utilities platform, which are connected through a bridge.

The facility comprises processing facilities to separate wellstream into oil, water and gas. It is used for oil separation and processing, gas compression and dehydration, water processing and injection.

The ETAP topsides will undergo minor modifications to handle wellstream from the Murlach field as well as provide lift gas and wash water to the field.

Contractors involved

Technip Energies subsidiary Genesis Oil and Gas was awarded a contract to carry out the concept development study for the Murlach field redevelopment project in December 2018.

Wood was contracted to perform topsides pre-front-end engineering and design (pre-FEED) study for the Murlach project in June 2019.

Fugro was contracted to perform an environmental survey at the Murlach field.