Netherlands-based Heerema Marine Contractors has completed installation of the 280t pre-drilling template on the Statoil-operated Johan Sverdrup field in the North Sea using its crane vessel, Thialf.

Johan Sverdrup field development head Kjetel Digre said: "We have completed and installed the first piece of one of the largest industrial projects in Europe.

"We still have a long journey ahead in the Johan Sverdrup development, but we are very pleased that we have completed and installed the subsea template without serious incidents and according to plan."

The 32m-long, 10m-high pre-drilling template contains eight well slots, and was designed and built by Heerema.

The slots allow production wells to be pre-drilled prior to the installation of the drilling platform in 2018.

Production at Johan Sverdrup is expected to begin in late-2019.

Once the field comes on stream, pre-drilling allows the production capacity to be utilised properly and helps capture maximum value for the partners.

"We have awarded several main contracts and utility packages worth more than Nkr40bn so far."

Pre-drilling on the Johan Sverdrup field would be performed by the Deepsea Atlantic drilling rig through the pre-drilling template from March 2016.

Digre added: "We have awarded several main contracts and utility packages worth more than Nkr40bn ($4.8bn)so far.

"We have also started building the first platform jacket at Kværner Verdal. So far, the Johan Sverdrup development is on track."

The Johan Sverdrup partnership comprises Statoil, Lundin Norway, Petoro, Det norske oljeselskap and Maersk Oil.

Image: The pre-drilling template is 32m-long and 10m-high. Photo: © Statoil.