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Equinor extends life of Norwegian oil giant Statfjord to 2035

Norway's state-controlled Equinor ASA decided not to decommission the Statfjord A oil platform in 2022 as previously planned and to extend production from what was the country's largest oil field beyond 2035, the company said Jan. 9.

Statfjord has been a major producer of light oil for Norway, with liquids output peaking at 640,000 barrels per day in 1992, but has been declining in recent years. Liquids output over the first 10 months of 2019 was about 40,000 bbl/d, although loaded volumes were supplemented from the nearby Snorre field, which uses the same offshore loading facilities.

Production is routed through three main platforms, the first of which had been due to be decommissioned in 2022. Statfjord B and C were tentatively planned for decommissioning in the mid-2020s.

But Equinor said Jan. 9 that it now plans to extend production from Statfjord A to 2027 and Statfjord B and C beyond 2035, with current levels of production being maintained beyond 2025. Production levels got a modest boost in December 2019 with the start of production from the Barnacle field in U.K. waters, which is tied to Statfjord B and operated by Equinor.

"Equinor and its partners in the Statfjord area have identified and approved plans to extend production from the field towards 2040. A new business plan will ensure even higher use of resources, extract more value from the field, and allow plans for decommissioning Statfjord A in 2022 to be deferred," Equinor said in a statement.

"Based on extensive mapping of the underground the remaining potential of the Statfjord area is still considerable," the company said.

The new plan for Statfjord involves drilling another 100 wells up to 2030 and "calls for extending Statfjord production by maturing new reserves for recovery and making necessary upgrading of the platforms, strongly increasing field activity," Equinor said.

Equinor said it is creating a new "late life" unit within the company to "develop new ways of working for safe and efficient operation with low carbon emissions from late life fields."

The plans for Statfjord will also conform with Equinor's plans to reduce CO2 emissions from the Norwegian offshore industry by 40% by 2030, Equinor added.

Equinor holds stakes of between 30% and 44% in the various Statfjord license areas; the other holders are Centrica PLC subsidiary Spirit Energy Ltd., Eni SpA subsidiary Vår Energi AS, Japan's Idemitsu Kosan Co. Ltd., Germany's Wintershall Dea GmbH and the state holding company Petoro AS.

Nicholas Coleman is a reporter with S&P Global Platts. S&P Global Market Intelligence and S&P Global Platts are owned by S&P Global Inc.