Aker BP and partners have announced the start of production from the first Ærfugl phase 2 well in the Norwegian Sea, three years ahead of the initial plan.

The project comprises two development areas, both of which be tied into the existing floating production storage and offloading (FPSO) vessel on the nearby Skarv field.

The first area will develop the southern part of the Ærfugl field using three new wells. This will start later in 2020.

The second area consists of an additional three wells in the northern part of the field. The Ærfugl gas field development is located approximately 210km west of Sandnessjøen in the Norwegian Sea.

Aker BP said that the remaining two phase two wells will come online next year.

Aker BP operations and asset development senior vice-president Kjetel Digre said: “The acceleration of production from Ærfugl Phase 2 means increased value creation for the Ærfugl joint venture, the supplier industry and the Norwegian society in the form of increased revenues.”

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In April 2018, the plan for development and operation for both the phases was approved by Norway’s Ministry of Petroleum and Energy.

Last November, Aker BP and partners Equinor, Wintershall DEA and PGNiG approved the final investment decision (FID) for second phase of Ærfugl.

According to the company, the original plan for start-up was 2023.

Digre continued: “However the good news are offset by the fact that we are facing a global crisis that none of us have experienced before. Investments and explorations activities offshore Norway are put on hold. Tens of thousands of employees in our industry are currently at risk.”

“It is clear that the industry’s proposal for temporary adjustments in Norway’s tax regime to improve the industry’s cash flow in the short run – without reducing the total tax payments in the long run – will result in increased activity and new investment opportunities offshore Norway within the next 12 – 24 months.”

In December last year, Aker BP awarded a contract to Aker Solutions to deliver the subsea production system (SPS) for second phase of the Ærfugl gas field development.