BP has secured approval from the UK’s Oil and Gas Authority (OGA) to go ahead with the development of the Vorlich oil field in the central North Sea.

The Vorlich field holds approximately 30 million barrels of oil equivalent (boe) and is likely to produce 20,000boe per day at peak production. The field is expected to start production in 2020.

BP North Sea regional president Ariel Flores said: “Without compromising safety, we want to simplify our processes, reduce costs and improve project cycle time to increase the competitiveness of our North Sea business. This is increasingly important as competition for global investment funds gets stiffer.

“While not on the same scale as our huge Quad 204 and Clair Ridge projects, the Vorlich development provides another exciting addition to our refreshed North Sea portfolio and further demonstrates BP’s commitment to the North Sea.”

BP will invest £200m to develop the Vorlich oil field, which is part of a programme of North Sea subsea tie-back developments. It aims to access important new production from fields located near to established producing assets.

“The OGA has been actively involved throughout the Vorlich project and is pleased to approve this development.”

Located about 241km east of Aberdeen, Vorlich – a two-well development – will be connected to the Ithaca Energy-operated FPF-1 floating production facility, which lies at the centre of Greater Stella Area production hub. Ithaca owns a 34% interest in Vorlich.

Oil and Gas Authority Central North Sea (CNS) area manager Scott Robertson said: “The OGA has been actively involved throughout the Vorlich project and is pleased to approve this development.

“The field will make an important contribution to our Maximising Economic Recovery UK (MER UK) priority as a valuable tieback utilising existing infrastructure and by maximising value from the Greater Stella Area hub.”

BP revealed its plans to develop Vorlich and Alligin in April this year. Alligin, a two-well development located west of Shetland, will be tied back to BP’s Glen Lyon floating, production, storage and offloading (FPSO) vessel.

Located about 140km west of Shetland, Alligin is a 20 million barrel recoverable oil field in which both BP and Shell own a 50% stake each.