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Shell starts up UK Arran gas and condensate field linked to delayed Shearwater revamp


Latest in cluster of Shearwater startups to boost supply to Scotland

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Arran to be followed imminently by Serica's Columbus project

Shell said Oct. 20 it had started production from the UK Arran gas and condensate field, one of a cluster of fields intended to help rejuvenate the Shearwater North Sea gas hub and connected to Scottish petrochemical facilities.

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The field, expected to produce 21,000 b/d of oil equivalent, had come on stream Sept. 22, a spokesperson said.

Arran is one of a cluster of fields in the Shearwater area that Shell has been developing as part of a plan to send gas via the Fulmar pipeline to a terminal at St. Fergus on the Scottish coast, from where it can supply petrochemical facilities at Mossmorran in Fife, rather than Shearwater gas going to Bacton in eastern England as previously.

Related to the Arran startup is another development, Columbus, operated by independent Serica Energy, which was expected to come on stream immediately after Arran, utilizing the same pipeline to Shearwater and on to St. Fergus. Serica has already successfully flow tested the first Columbus development well and initial production is expected to amount to 7,000 boe/d, comprising 75% gas.

However, Shell has met with UK setbacks recently after an environmental regulator turned down its plans for the Jackdaw gas development, another in the Shearwater area, and the government rejected the Shell-backed Acorn carbon capture and storage project, expected to help decarbonize the Fife petrochemical facilities by taking CO2 for storage under the North Sea.

With COP26 climate talks getting underway shortly in Glasgow, Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has also raised doubts about the 800 million barrel Cambo oil project in the West of Shetland area, also backed by Shell, which is awaiting a final investment decision.

Shearwater and Arran have both been delayed by work restrictions resulting from the pandemic. Arran is expected to produce 100 MMcf/d of gas and 4,000 b/d of condensate.