The Vorlich oil field development project is located within the Greater Stella Area (GSA) in Central North Sea, UK. Discovered in 2014, the field spans across the BP-operated Block 30/1c (Upper) and the Ithaca Energy-operated Block 30/1f in Central North Sea.

The £200m ($252m) project is part of BP’s program to develop satellite fields through existing hubs. It is expected to produce 20,000 barrels per day (bpd) of oil-equivalent at peak.

Located 241km east of Aberdeen, the oil field is owned jointly by BP Exploration Operating Company (66%) and Ithaca (34%). BP owns 80% interest in the Block30/1c (License P363), while Ithaca Energy owns the remaining. Ithaca holds 100% interest in license Block30/1f (License P1588).

Discovered and appraised with exploration well 30/1f-13A, Z, and 13Z, the field hosts hydrocarbons in a Palaeocene sandstone reservoir within Block 30/1c. It was flow-tested at a maximum rate of 5,350boepd, with the majority being oil.

Oil and Gas Authority (OGA) approved the Vorlich project development in September 2018. Construction of the project is scheduled to be commenced in 2019, while first oil is anticipated to be produced in July 2020.

Reserves at the Vorlich oil field development  project

The Vorlich satellite field is estimated to contain oil reserves of 34Mboe, as of March 2018.

Vorlich oil field development details

The Vorlich field lies in a water depth of approximately 90m and will encompass two production wells tied-back to the Ithaca Energy-operated Stella FPF-1 floating production unit. The wells will be drilled through the drilling template using a semi-submersible drilling rig.

A steel frame drilling template, with slots for each well along with supporting legs, will be installed.

X-mas trees will be installed at each well, while a piled subsea manifold will be installed next to the wells, which are proposed to be connected to the manifold.

An 8"/12" pipe-in-pipe production pipeline will be installed between the manifold and the FPF-1 floating production unit.

NGL processing modifications and a new chemical skid will be installed as part of the proposed modifications on the FPF-1 topsides.

The first well is planned to be drilled in the second quarter of 2019, while the manifold, pipeline, and umbilical are expected to be installed in the second quarter of 2020. The produced oil and gas will be exported to the market via the existing Norsea terminal and Central Area Transmission System pipeline, respectively.

BP has agreed to procure and install the equipment associated with the wells, while Ithaca will procure, install, and commission the pipeline and the topside modification works.

Production details

The identified hydrocarbons at Vorlich oil field development project are volatile oil, that is gas with high levels of natural gas liquids (condensate).

The two production wells are estimated to produce 1,566t of oil and 1.9 million m³ of gas. They are estimated to produce 1,827t of oil and 1.9 million m³ of gas (upper estimate), in the first full year of production.

The end of the oil field as for the upside-case is anticipated to be in 2030.

FPF-1 floating production facility details

FPF-1, officially known as AH001 semi-submersible floating production unit, is located at the centre of the Greater Stella Area production hub. It has a processing capacity of 38,000bopd of oil and 85 million metric standard cubic feet per day (Mmscf/d) of gas.

The FPF-1 floating production facility will deliver the oil produced from the Vorlich field to Conoco-operated Norpipe system, while the gas will be delivered to the Central Area Transmission System (CATS) operated by Kellas Midstream.

Contractors involved

Ithaca Energy (UK) engaged Petrofac’s Engineering and Production Services (EPS) business for the construction and commissioning of the FPF-1 topsides to handle the production from the Vorlich wells.

WorleyParsons is responsible for the subsea tieback of the field to the FPF-1 floating production facility, under a front-end engineering design (FEED) contract.