The Eastern Trough Area Project (Etap) is located in the Central North Sea, offshore UK.The Eastern Trough Area Project (Etap) is located in the Central North Sea, offshore UK. Credit: BP.
The Etap development is based on a CPF over the Marnock field. Credit: Lukasz Z / Shutterstock.
The produced oil is exported to the Kinneil terminal. Credit: Ryjkov_S / Shutterstock.

The Eastern Trough Area Project (Etap) is an integrated development of seven different reservoirs located 240km east of Aberdeen, UK, in the Central North Sea.

The development originally included nine reservoirs, two of which have ceased production. Six separate fields are operated by BP, namely Marnock, Mungo, Monan, Machar, Mirren and Madoes (the M fields). Three are operated by Shell, namely Heron, Egret and Skua fields (the Heron cluster). The Egret and Skua fields ceased production later. All fields are geographically located within a 35km area.

BP’s Seagull field is planned to be developed through the ETAP hub with the first oil expected in 2021.

The project is undergoing a $1bn investment programme for upgrading operations until the 2030s.  The BP-operated fields have produced more than 550 million barrels (MMbpd) of oil equivalent (gross) to date.

Etap reserves

Each field is not commercially viable for standalone developments because of its small scale. Their combined reserves are estimated to be around 490MMbpd, 35MMbpd of natural gas condensate and around 2 billion cubic feet (Bcf) of natural gas. The Etap project began production in 1998 with seven reservoirs. The additional two reservoirs, Mirren and Madoes, started production in 2002.

The facility can handle up to 120,000bpd. The gas produced is exported at approximately 440 million standard cubic feet (Mscf) per day. The project generates around 1,100t of natural gas liquid products such as condensate each day.

Etap reservoirs

Marnock, a gas-condensate accumulation, is a high pressure and high-temperature field at about 9,000psi and 300°F. The field is notable due to the variations in gas richness, with liquid yields ranging from 30 billion barrels / million cubic feet (Mft³) in the east to 1.7 Gbbl / Mft³ in the west. The development plan involves six near-horizontal wells. The accumulation has been developed by natural depletion.

Mungo is a large oil field with a small gas cap. Development drilling was undertaken in several stages.

Five production wells and a gas injector were pre-drilled, along with the high-angle well used in the Mungo Extended Well test. There were 13 development wells in all of them.

Monan is a small oil and gas field developed under natural depletion with a subsea manifold and a spur line, linking into the wet gas pipeline 15km away.

Machar is an oil accumulation developed in three stages. Phase one comprised an extended production test, which was completed in May 1995. This demonstrated the viability of natural depletion during the test, with 7.7MMbpd produced.

Phase two, which started in August 1995, incorporated a pilot waterflood, which entailed oil production from two wells, with water injected into a third. 6.8MMbpd of oil were produced.

The Mirren well is located 13km east of the central processing facility (CPF) with two production wells.

Mirren is a Palaeocene diapir structured and developed as a subsea with two wells tied back to CPF by a 10in pipe.

Madoes is a subsea cluster tied back to the CPF through a 10in pipeline. It is a pressurised Eocene reservoir and located around 19km south-west of the CPF.

Etap production facilities

The Etap development is based on a CPF over Marnock, which is shared between the fields. This consists of a processing, drilling and riser (PDR) platform and a quarters and utilities (QU) platform, sited approximately 60m apart and linked by two bridges.

This design separates the production risers and Marnock wellheads on the PDR platform from the accommodation on the QU platform. The PDR design also divides the riser area and the Marnock wellheads from a jack-up drilling rig if one is present.

The CPF is designed to handle:

  • Gas injection: 113Mft³ per day
  • Gas export: 440Mft³ per day
  • Water injection: 18,284m³/d
  • Produced water: 9,539m³/d
  • Produced water-disposal injection: 120,000bpd

Additionally, a platform that is not normally manned is placed over Mungo to separate liquids from the gas. The liquids flow directly to the CPF in a 12in pipeline.

Chemicals and electrical power for Mungo are supplied via an umbilical from the CPF. A 16in wet gas line from the Mungo NNMI is routed to the CPF via Monan. Any separated produced water is cleaned in a hydrocyclone and degasser before being returned to the sea or fed back into the CPF for re-injection.

For Machar, a subsea pump has been installed along with a 12in water-injection flowline, through which injection water is used to power the pump to return the produced fluid. A total of seven wells are required for this, namely two injectors and five producers.


The oil produced is exported via a 76km, 24in carbon steel pipeline to the Kinneil terminal through the Forties pipeline system (FPS). The peak export capacity is around 250,000bpd.

A 16in diameter spur line carries gas to BP’s 36in-diameter Central Area Transmission System (CATS) pipeline through which the gas is finally exported to Teesside.

Pull Quotes

The Etap facility can handle up to 120,000bpd.

Six separate fields are operated by BP, namely Marnock, Mungo, Monan, Machar, Mirren and Madoes.