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Statoil to Invest More Than $7 Billion in U.K. Mariner Field

Statoil ASA, Norway’s biggest oil and gas producer, will invest more than $7 billion in its Mariner project, the largest offshore development in the U.K. North Sea in more than a decade.

Statoil plans to start production from Mariner in 2017, the Stavanger-based company said in a statement today. The field is expected to produce for 30 years with a plateau output of 55,000 barrels of oil a day in the first three years.

“We are satisfied that we now are able to make an investment decision for a profitable development of the Mariner field,” Lars Christian Bacher, Statoil executive vice president for international development and production, said in the statement.

Statoil’s investment decision comes five years after it entered the license as operator and 31 years after the Mariner heavy oil field was discovered. Offshore oil production in the U.K. has fallen by more than 60 percent since 1999 to about 48 million tons in 2011, according to figures from the Department of Energy and Climate Change.

Japan’s JX Nippon Oil & Gas Exploration Corp. said yesterday it had acquired Eni SpA’s 28.89 percent stake in the Mariner field, 150 kilometers (93 miles) east of the Shetland Isles. Statoil owns 65.11 percent of the license, with Alba Resources Ltd., a wholly owned subsidiary of Cairn Energy Plc, holding the remaining 6 percent.

Steel Jacket

Mariner will be developed with a production, drilling and quarters platform on a steel jacket, and a floating storage unit with a capacity of 850,000 barrels. The contract for engineering, procurement and construction of the jacket has been awarded to Dragados Offshore SA, while Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering Co. has won the topside contract, Statoil said in the statement. The contracts are valued at a total of 1.2 billion pounds ($1.9 billion).

“We have seen a lot of interest from the supplier industry for the Mariner project,” said Anders Opedal, Statoil’s senior vice president for projects.

Statoil will award the contract for the floating storage unit and a tailor-made jack-up rig in the second quarter of 2013. Statoil will also invite contractors to tender for risers, pipelines, umbilicals, flowlines, power cables and marine operations before the end of the year, with awards in the second quarter.

The Norwegian company will make its final investment decision for the Bressay North Sea field at the end of 2013, Statoil’s Bacher said in a phone interview. The oil and gas producer is seeking to limit investments at that field to less than those at Mariner, he said.

“We hope it’ll be cheaper, that’s what we’re working on,” he said. “There are opportunities to use many of the same solutions that we are choosing for the Mariner project.”

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