Shell UK has made a final investment decision (FID) on the expansion of Shearwater gas hub in the UK North Sea as part of its strategy to increase gas production from around the platform.

Shell operates the Shearwater platform, which is located about 140 miles east of Aberdeen, with a 28% interest. Other partners in the project include ExxonMobil (44.5%) and BP (27.5%).

Dry gas produced from the Shearwater platform is currently sent to the Bacton gas terminal on the Norfolk coast through the Shearwater Elgin Area Line (SEAL) pipeline.

Under the latest investment, Shell and its partners will undertake a modification of the Shearwater platform and build a 23-mile pipeline connecting the Fulmar Gas Line (FGL) to Shearwater.

“We have been able to reduce costs, simplify the production process and create an important production hub at Shearwater.”

The project will allow wet gas to flow into the Shell Esso Gas and Associated Liquids (SEGAL) pipeline.

Gas will be processed at the St Fergus plant in Scotland. Natural gas liquids (NGLs) will be transported to the Fife Natural Gas Liquids (FNGL) plant and Fife Ethylene Plant (FEP) at Mossmorran.

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Shell UK Upstream vice-president Steve Phimister said: “This is part of our strategy to grow our gas production from around the Shearwater platform and it underscores Shell’s commitment to maximising the economic recovery of oil and gas from the North Sea.

“Through close collaboration with our partners and suppliers, we have been able to reduce costs, simplify the production process and create an important production hub at Shearwater. 50 years after Shell began working in the North Sea, we continue to invest in projects to deliver more gas to UK consumers for years to come.”

The Shearwater hub is expected to have a wet gas export capacity of 400 million standard cubic feet of gas a day.

The FID represents Shell’s seventh in the UK North Sea this year and comes after the FIDs for the Fram field in June and for the Arran field in October.

Citing an unnamed Shell spokesperson, Reuters reported that the pipeline installation is expected to take place next year while the platform expansion will be carried out in the subsequent year.