Oil and gas firm Aker BP and its partners have announced the commencement of production from the Ærfugl field phase 1 in the Norwegian Sea.

The gas reservoir is located in production licence 212 in the Norwegian part of the North Sea. It holds reserves of around 300 million barrels of oil equivalent (Mboe).

The Ærfugl project comprises two development phases, which will both be tied into the existing floating production storage and offloading (FPSO) vessel on the nearby Skarv field. It is located about 210km west of Sandnessjøen.

Plans for development and operation (PDO) of both phases were submitted to the Norwegian Ministry of Petroleum and Energy in December 2017.

Aker BP claims that the project is one of the ‘most profitable development projects’ on the Norwegian Continental Shelf (NCS).

Aker BP is the operator of the project, with an operating interest of 23.8%. Partners in the Ærfugl project include Equinor (36.2%), Wintershall DEA (28.1%) and PGNiG (11.9%). Total investment costs for the project are around Nkr8bn ($874m).

Skarv area operations and asset development vice-president Sverre Isak Bjørn said: “The Ærfugl field development is adding five years lifetime extension to the Skarv FPSO. Ærfugl is an important part of the area development and value creation in the area.

“When both phases of Ærfugl come on stream, we will significantly increase our utilization at the Skarv FPSO, representing roughly a doubling of production compared to current levels.

“Production from the Ærfugl reservoir will also improve the energy efficiency. Consequently, it will bring down CO₂ emissions by 30%-40% per barrel produced from Skarv FPSO.”

Last month, the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate (NPD) announced that Ærfugl gas and condensate field was all set to start production from Phase 1 of the two-phase development.