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March 29, 2022

IOG North Sea field on track for 2022 first gas, after spate of delays

The field is part of operator IOG’s Saturn Banks project, itself hoped to provide the UK with increased domestic gas supply and energy security.

By Scarlett Evans

North Sea operator IOG has confirmed it is on target for achieving first gas at its Southwark field in the North Sea this year, after months of delay. 

The problematic field is expecting to see first gas in the fourth quarter of 2022, and IOG has already started up production at the sister fields Blythe and Elgood , which have average flow rates of 40 million standard cubic feet per day (mmscf/d) and 50mmscf/d, respectively. 

“Early reservoir performance indicates flow rates at Blythe and Elgood are in a similar range to the clean-up flow tests, which is encouraging,” Andrew Hockey, IOG CEO, said in a press release. “Elgood is producing steadily at over 50mmscf/d.  

“We have experienced some early mechanical issues on the Blythe platform, as may be expected during the start-up phase. We expect to resolve a chemical injection issue on the platform this week so that we can establish stable flow from both wells.  

“In parallel,” he added, “we are pleased to continue our progress towards a safe resumption of drilling at Southwark by mid-April.” 

Operation at the platform was previously hindered by a problem with the site’s jack-up rig in October 2021, an issue that ultimately caused a delay of two months. In January this year, while the rig was fixed and was said to have “spudded” Southwark, it had to be taken back off-site due to “excessive movement” caused by seabed conditions. Now, the site is finally back on track to try its third attempt at first gas. 

Elgood , Blythe, and Southwark together form IOG’s flagship North Sea project, dubbed Saturn Banks, which the energy provider says will help the UK accelerate its targets of becoming energy independent and boosting its domestic gas supply. 

“Developing further UK gas resources is the right thing to do both from an environmental and energy security perspective. We are encouraged by the recent government discussions with industry and ministerial comments on supporting further investment in domestic gas supply, which is exactly what IOG stands for,” Hockey said in a statement at the time of Elgood field’s first gas. 

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