Chevron’s Erskine field is normally unoccupied and remotely controlled from BG’s Lomond platform; the two are linked by an 18.6 mile (30 km) pipeline.
According to Serica Energy (who has 18% interest in the field), the pipeline blockage was from a foam cleaning device that became lodged due to a wax build-up. Serica stated successful clearance included pressure pulsing with diesel from both ends of the pipeline and the injection of a wax solvent. The field then remained shut-in for planned maintenance programing on both platforms that started in May.
Upon completion, flow from the Lomond field started mid-July to flush the export line, with higher volume Erskine production re-starting on July 27th. Following a final clean-up in August, production is projected to plow to levels reached prior to the shut-down.
Serica says that once full production is re-established, part of the ongoing production improvement, efficiencies, and continuous export availability will include an increase of regular pigging and wax inhibitor injections to prevent a re-occurrence of wax build-up. This will also enable the potential to extend infrastructure operating life.
“Since Serica acquired its interest in the Erskine field in June 2015, it has made a significant contribution to cashflow and profits. This has equipped us to withstand issues such as this shutdown. Now that production has resumed we expect this strong performance to continue as we seek to add further interests to increase shareholder value at a time of low oil and gas prices,” says Tony Craven Walker, Serica’s Chairman.
Article written by HEI contributor Marcela Arbaca.