The year 2020 will see a rise in the number of field starts across Europe and higher production output driven by additional volumes mainly coming from the UK and Norway. Elsewhere in the region, Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands and Ireland are set to see a continuation of production declines for the year. The UK is expected to dominate the Final Investment Decision (FID) awards with a total of 16 projects, compared to just two projects expected in Norway. Some of the regional key project starts include Martin Linge and Ærfugl, both in Norway, and Tempa Rossa in Italy. Key FID awards could be Cambo, Jackdaw and Bentley all within UK waters.

Figure: Map of project starts in 2020.

The development of the Martin Linge gas/condensate project, within the Norwegian North Sea, comprises of a fixed offshore platform permanently anchored to a Floating Storage and Offloading (FSO) unit with a new gas evacuation pipeline. Gas is to be produced from structurally complex, high pressure, high temperature Jurassic aged sandstones, whilst condensate also resides in Eocene sediments.

As for the Ærfugl project located in the Norwegian Sea, Aker BP and partners recently achieved FID on phase two, with expected start-up in 2020, before phase one wells.

The Ærfugl subsea developments are to be tied into the Skarv FPSO. A total of six wells are planned over 2 phases in addition to increasing gas processing capacity at Skarv FPSO by 15%.

The Tempa Rossa project in Italy is situated in an area of environmental sensitivity and has been challenged by approval delays and project interruptions. The development consists of eight production wells, construction of an oil processing facility and LPG storage centre. Test production restarted in December 2019, however, full field production is anticipated in Q2 2020.

Figure: Number of field starts from 2010 to 2020 by commodity type.

Around 21 projects expect to be targeting FID in 2020, roughly in line with the number of FIDs made in 2019. Although not all projects will be successful in achieving FID this year the UK stands out as the area to watch in the region.

The Cambo development off the West of Shetlands, UK, has oil in place estimates of 800-900 million barrels and expected recoveries of 30-35%, recoverable oil could be upwards of 250 million barrels over multiple phases. Oil evacuation is planned via an FPSO with 13 subsea wells anticipated as an initial development solution.

First discovered in 1977, the Bentley heavy oil field in the UK North Sea is proposed to be developed via a twenty-slot conventional jacket and topsides, transferring oil to an FSO for export via shuttle tanker. Phase one aims to recover approximately 130 million barrels of oil.