Norway – Equinor and its partners are planning to shutdown Veslefrikk field after more than 30 years on stream and over 400 million barrels of oil equivalent.
The partnership plans to shutdown the field in the spring of 2022. The plugging of wells has already started.
“As the biggest operator we have much infrastructure that must be gradually decommissioned on the Norwegian continental shelf. We have solid project capabilities in the area, and have developed good plans for removing Veslefrikk in a safe and efficient manner,” said Camilla Salthe, Equinor’s senior vice president for FLX.
History of Veslefrikk
The field was discovered in 1981, and when it came on stream in 1989, Veslefrikk’s development concept, as a first on the Norwegian continental shelf, consisted of a floating production unit.
The partnership has invested some NOK 20 billion in Veslefrikk, and the field’s productive life has been extended several times. When the plan for development and production (PDO) was submitted the field was expected to be shut down as early as in 2009.
The floating unit Veslefrikk B is a semi-submersible production platform tied in to the fixed wellhead platform Veslefrikk A. In 2002 the field also became the host of Huldra with a shared control room and crew, in addition to processing condensate from this now decommissioned field.
Veslefrikk is operated from Sandsli outside Bergen, where it is organised together with the operation of the Oseberg area.
An environmental impact assessment has been conducted and a decommissioning plan for Veslefrikk was sent to the authorities in the autumn of 2020.
Before Veslefrikk B can be brought ashore, wells must be plugged, platform systems must be shut down and cleaned, and oil and gas export pipelines must be cleaned and disconnected.
The plugging of wells started in January this year. The well plugging will be performed under existing framework contracts, where Archer has the contract for rig operations, and Baker and Ardyne deliver most other drilling and well services. A total of 24 wells will be plugged from the drilling system at Veslefrikk.
Veslefrikk B will be towed to shore for dismantling in the autumn of 2022 and Veslefrikk A is scheduled to be removed in 2025/26.
Three large-size contracts associated with the removal work are scheduled to be awarded in the first half of 2021.
The first contract is for the removal and dismantling of Veslefrikk A, which is an ‘Engineering, Preparation, Removal and Disposal’ (EPRD) contract that covers all work in connection with the removal of the platform and subsequent dismantling and recycling.
Next one is for the dismantling and recycling of Veslefrikk B.
The final contract covers work on the seabed in connection with export pipeline cleaning and disconnection.
In addition, contracts for the planning, management and implementation of the towing of Veslefrikk B to shore will be established in the same way as in 1999, when Veslefrikk B was at Stord for upgrading.