The Utsira High Project involves bundling three separate subsea tie-in projects in the central part of the North Sea.
As part of the development, Symra (previously named Lille Prinsen) will be tied-in to the Ivar Aasen platform, while Solveig phase 2 and Troldhaugen will be connected to the Edvard Grieg platform.
The three developments are operated by Aker BP. The company submitted plans for the Utsira High Project to the Norwegian Ministry of Petroleum and Energy (MPE) in December 2022.
Overall, the Utsira High Project will develop recoverable resources of 124 million barrels of oil equivalent (mboe). Total investments are estimated to be NOK21bn ($2.02bn).
Drilling is slated to commence in the third quarter of 2025. Solveig and Troldhaugen are expected to start production in first-quarter 2026, followed by Symra in first-quarter 2027.
The Symra field in production licence (PL) 167, 167B, 167C) is owned by Aker BP (50%), Equinor (30%), and Sval Energi (20%).
Solveig Phase 2, which is in PL 359, is owned by Aker BP (65%), OMV (20%) and Wintershall Dea (15%).
Aker BP holds 80% stake in Troldhaugen (PL 338C), while the remaining 20% holding is with OMV.
Geology of the developments
Troldhaugen features a reservoir primarily consisting of weathered and fractured basement rock (granite). The oil deposits in bedrock were considered technically and economically not viable for production due to the density of granitic bedrock.
However, it is expected to be saturated with hydrocarbons after the granite is cracked and water dissolves the minerals.
Symra, previously known as Lille Prinsen, was discovered in June 2018. It was proven in reservoir rocks from the Eocene (the Grid Formation), the Palaeocene (the Heimdal Formation) and the Permian (the Zechstein Group).
Additional resources at Lille Prinsen were confirmed in 2019 in Jurassic/Cretaceous reservoirs.
At the time of discovery, Lille Prinsen was estimated to contain between 15 and 35 million barrels of recoverable oil equivalent.
Solveig Phase 2 is an extension of the Solveig field, which began production in 2021. The Solveig reservoir hosts oil-bearing sandstones of the Permian and Triassic ages.
The developments- Symra (formerly Lille Prinsen), Solveig Phase 2, and Troldhaugen (formerly Rolvsnes) projects will be bundled into one joint project in the execution phase which will be called the Utsira High Project.
All three projects come under the temporary tax regime adopted by the Parliament (Stortinget) in 2020.
The Utsira High Project is expected to leverage existing processing capacity and export facilities in the area with Edvard Grieg and Ivar Aasen.
Edvard Grieg field commenced production in November 2018. It was developed as a field centre and operate as a host platform for new fields in the region. The platform now serves as the host platform for the Solveig field (Phase 1).
Under the project, Solveig Phase 2 and Troldhaugen (previously named Rolvsnes) will be connected to the Edvard Grieg platform.
Ivar Aasen was the first field on the Norwegian shelf to have a remotely operated manned platform. First oil was achieved in December 2016. The recovered oil and gas are transported to the Edvard Grieg platform for final processing.
All producing fields on Utsira High will use electrical power from shore. The original area solution for power from shore to the Utsira High comprised the Johan Sverdrup, Edvard Grieg, Gina Krog and Ivar Aasen fields.
This will reduce carbon dioxide emissions from Edvard Grieg by 200,000 tonnes per year and from Ivar Aasen by 100,000 tonnes per year.
In January 2023, TechnipFMC secured an integrated Engineering, Procurement, Construction, and Installation (iEPCI) contract for its Utsira High development. The contract, awarded by Aker BP, was categorised as a large contract worth between $500m and $1bn.
The scope of work includes engineering, procurement, construction, and installation of the subsea production systems, controls, pipelines, and umbilical cables for the development.
The contract was awarded following a two-year integrated front-end engineering and design (FEED) study to optimise field layout.