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Norway's Vale gas field producing 'above plan', to continue to 2023: Spirit

Highlights

Spirit-operated field had expected life of 2021/22

Some 0.6 Bcm of reserves left to produce: NPD

Vale gas processed at Heimdal gas hub

Norway's Vale gas and condensate field is consistently producing "above plan" and its life will now be extended until June 2023 after approval by the Norwegian energy ministry, operator Spirit Energy said late June 23.

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Spirit -- which holds a 50% operating stake in Vale -- applied for consent to extend the life of the field to recover the remaining reserves at the field. It had previously estimated the end of the expected life of the field at 2021/22.

Norway's industry safety watchdog, the Petroleum Safety Authority, gave its approval in May to extend the life of Vale until June 2023 and Spirit now also has approval from the energy ministry.

"Vale had been expected to cease production in the 2021/22 period," Spirit's manager for operated assets in Norway, Petter Myhre, said.

"We are excited that we now have permission from the Norwegian authorities to continue production until June 2023."

Gas and condensate from Vale is routed to the Heimdal platform for processing and export.

Gas is then transported via the Vesterled pipeline to St Fergus in the UK, while condensate is transported by pipeline to the Brae field in the UK sector and further to Cruden Bay.

"Vale has been producing consistently above forecast since Q2 2020 after new topside equipment was installed on the Heimdal host," Myhre said.

Vale produced at total of 0.36 Bcm of gas equivalent in 2020, divided equally between gas and condensate, according to the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate.

Remaining reserves

The NPD estimates that 0.35 Bcm of gas and the equivalent of 0.21 Bcm of condensate remain at Vale, which started production in 2002.

Its original recoverable gas and condensate reserves were estimated at a combined 5.4 Bcm of gas equivalent.

Spirit is majority-owned by Centrica, which took over operatorship of Vale in 2012 from state-controlled Equinor.

The ownership of Vale is now Spirit (50%), Poland's Lotos (25.8%) and PGNiG (24.2%).

Spirit and the partners at Heimdal have also decided to extend operations at the Heimdal gas hub until 2023.

Heimdal now mostly processes gas from the Equinor-operated satellite Valemon field, and new wells being drilled at Valemon means Heimdal will now continue operations until 2023 rather than ending as originally planned in 2021 or 2022.

Production from Valemon is expected to increase in the future as three to four new gas wells will be drilled in 2021 and 2022.

The extension will also enable production of the remaining reserves at the Vale and Skirne fields, as well as the increased production from Valemon.