BP and Shell have secured approval from the Oil and Gas Authority (OGA) to proceed with the Alligin development west of Shetland in the UK North Sea.

Located 140km west of Shetland at a water depth of 475m, the project will target 20 million barrels of oil equivalent. At its peak, it is expected to generate 12,000 barrels gross of oil equivalent a day.

BP North Sea regional president Ariel Flores said: “We announced our intention to develop Alligin in April and six months later we have achieved regulatory approval. Always maintaining our focus on safety, we are modernising and transforming how we work in the North Sea to fully realise the potential of our portfolio.

“Alligin is part of our advantaged oil story, rescuing stranded reserves and tying them back into existing infrastructure. Developments like this have shorter project cycles, allowing us to bring on new production quicker. These subsea tiebacks complement our major start-ups and underpin BP’s commitment to the North Sea.”

Part of the Greater Schiehallion Area, Alligin consists of two wells that will be tied-back into the existing Schiehallion and Loyal subsea infrastructure. Processing and export facilities used for the project will be from the Glen Lyon floating, production storage, offload (FPSO) vessel.

“This fast-tracked project will maximise economic recovery through utilising capacity in the Glen Lyon FPSO.”

The field is expected to be operational in 2020. It will feature new subsea infrastructure, comprising gas lift and water injection pipeline systems, as well as a new controls umbilical.

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By GlobalData

Deepsea Aberdeen rig will drill the wells.

In the Alligin field, BP holds a 50% stake and is the operator, while Shell holds the other 50%.

Oil and Gas Authority (OGA) West of Shetland and Northern North Sea area manager Brenda Wyllie said: “The Oil and Gas Authority is pleased to consent to the development of the Alligin field. This fast-tracked project will maximise economic recovery through utilising capacity in the Glen Lyon FPSO and is a good example of the competitive advantage available to operators from the extensive infrastructure installed in the UKCS.”

This is the second North Sea development approval that BP secured in the last two months. In September, the company received regulatory approval for Vorlich, which targets 30 million barrels of oil equivalent.

BP also has a 32% stake in the North Sea Culzean development, which will meet around 5% of gas requirements in the UK once the first batch is produced in 2019.