UK-based development and production firm Independent Oil & Gas (IOG) has secured approval from the UK Oil & Gas Authority for a field development plan (FDP) encompassing the first phase of its core gas project in the southern North Sea.

Pipeline Works Authorization applications (PWAs) and other necessary applications for pipelay activities are currently under review.

The UK-based firm expects to sign a full engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) contract with the platform contractor shortly.

According to IOG, fabrication preparations continue for two Phase 1 normally unmanned installation platforms, namely the Southwark and Blythe platforms.

At the fabrication yard, a two-shift system is in place due to coronavirus restrictions, but platform delivery dates are currently not affected by Covid-19 despite pressures on the supply chain.

IOG CEO Andrew Hockey said: “This innovative low-carbon project, re-using previously decommissioned infrastructure to develop otherwise stranded domestic gas resources, is a definitive example of maximising economic recovery, in line with UK government strategy.

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“In such a turbulent and unpredictable environment, we remain as focused as ever on leveraging our core strengths: funded status, proven resource base, infrastructure ownership, excellent partner, low unit costs, low carbon footprint and experienced team with a clear value creation strategy.

“As Phase 1 execution ramps up, we have avoided any schedule impact to date from Covid-19 and are also targeting cost savings even more proactively to help deliver our project on time and budget.”

In addition, an IOG spokesperson said a contract is in place for the Elgood subsea well control system.

The company has also initiated further seismic reprocessing and interpretation of the Vulcan Satellite fields, and the Goddard and Abbeydale gas discoveries to help optimise future field developments.

In September last year, IOG confirmed the presence of gas after drilling the Harvey appraisal well 48/24b-6 in the UK southern North Sea.