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Norway's Aker BP approves additional rapid tieback to Skarv oil field


Grasel to be developed alongside Aerfugl tieback to Skarv

Skarv light sweet crude field in decline since 2015

Norway tax breaks speeding up new developments

London — Oslo-listed Aker BP has approved an additional low-cost satellite development near the Skarv oil and gas field known as Grasel, which it said would come on stream in the fourth quarter 2021 and be a model for other small-scale tiebacks.

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In a Dec. 18 statement, Aker BP, which is 40% owned by services giant Aker and 30% by BP, said the 13 million barrel of oil equivalent field would come on stream in the same period as phase 2 of the Aerfugl project, another Skarv tieback.

Skarv itself came on stream in 2013, with light sweet crude loaded onto tankers from a floating production, storage and offloading vessel, but has been in decline since 2015, with liquids output of 25,000 b/d over the first 10 months of this year.

Grasel is one of a number of projects set to benefit from tax breaks introduced by Norway in June in response to the oil price collapse, speeding up the reimbursement of capital expenditure. The tax breaks will apply to projects approved before the end of 2022.

About 10 new Norwegian oil and gas projects are due to start producing in 2021, including the delayed redevelopment of two oil fields previously shut down due to structural problems, Njord and Yme.

Aker BP put the development cost for Grasel at NOK1.2 billion ($140 million), saying it would break even at oil prices as low as $15/b.

Though it operates Skarv, the company holds only a 24% stake in the field, with a 36% stake held by state-owned Equinor, alongside Germany's Wintershall Dea on 28% and Poland's state-owned PGNiG on 12%.

"The successful early-phase work with Grasel will be used as a model for future developments of smaller discoveries, which is one of Aker BP's prioritized areas. Grasel will also contribute to lifetime extension for the Skarv FPSO," Aker BP said.

The same partners have also been bringing on stream the 300 million boe Aerfugl gas and condensate field in a phased fashion since April 2020, with the second phase also due on stream in the fourth quarter 2021. Aerfugl liquids production reached 7,000 b/d in October according to Norwegian Petroleum Directorate data.