The development of the £4.6 billion Mariner heavy oil field is expected to produce around 55,000 barrels of oil per day at its peak. This equates to 5% of the UK’s daily production and it is expected to have a 40 year lifetime. Production of this type of oil field is unusual to date because it contains heavy oil that has high viscosity and does not flow well.
Mariner was discovered in 1982, but development could not be progressed at the time because of the technical challenges involved in developing this dense and viscous oil offshore. With technology developments in the 1990s (in particular horizontal drilling and improved well completion techniques) development became more attractive. In 2005, DECC declared Mariner fallow, which facilitated a realignment of license interests, the acquisition of new seismic in 2008 and the submission of a Field Development Plan in September 2012.
Unlocking heavy oil production marks a new chapter in development, opening the potential for 5% of our oil reserves. More than 140 reservoir targets are planned for Mariner.
Statoil is the operator of the Mariner field, with 65.11% equity. Other partners include JX Nippon Exploration and Production (UK) Limited (28.89%) and Cairn Energy (6%). The development plan includes a production, drilling and quarters (PDQ) platform based on a steel jacket, with a floating storage unit (FSU).
Read more on the BBC website.
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