The Utsira High project development will include subsea tie-backs of Symra and Solveig Phase 2. Credit: Aker BP.
Cable connections to the Edvard Grieg and Ivar Aasen platforms to provide electricity from the shore were completed in March 2023. Credit: NKT A/S.
Oil processed at the Edvard Grieg production platform is exported to the Sture onshore terminal. Credit: Norwegian oil and gas/Wikimedia Commons.

The Utsira High project will involve the development of two separate subsea tie-in projects in the central part of the North Sea, offshore Norway.

Aker BP will develop the project along with its partners Equinor, Sval Energi, OMV and Wintershall Dea, with an estimated investment of Nkr16bn ($1.49bn). The project will be operated by Aker BP.

The Troldhaugen project in the Edvard Grieg area was earlier proposed to be developed as part of the Utsira High project. Aker BP submitted the plans for the development and operation of the Symra and Troldhaugen projects along with the development plan for Solveig Phase 2 to the Norwegian Ministry of Petroleum and Energy (MPE) in December 2022.

However, the company dropped plans for the Troldhaugen project in March 2023 due to a lack of financial viability. The decision was made following a reduction in the expected recoverable volume based on the performance of an extended well test.

The development plans of Symra and Solveig Phase 2 were approved by MPE in June 2023.

The drilling activities for the two developments are anticipated to start in the third quarter (Q3) of 2025. Production from Solveig Phase 2 and Symra is expected to commence in the first quarter (Q1) of 2026 and 2027, respectively.

Utsira High area details

Symra, formerly known as Lille Prinsen, lies at a water depth of 110m within the production licences (PL) 167, 167B and 167C. Located 5km northeast of the Ivar Aasen field, Symra is operated by Aker BP with 50% interest. Equinor holds 30% interest in the project, while Sval Energi owns the remaining 20%.

Solveig Phase 2 is an expansion of the Solveig field, which is located within PL 359, about 15km south of the Edvard Grieg field. Aker BP operates Solveig Phase 2 with 65% ownership, while OMV and Wintershall Dea hold 20% and 15%, respectively.

Discovery and reservoir details

Symra was discovered by the 16/1-29 S well in 2003 and was proven by the 16/1-29 ST2 well in 2018 in reservoir rocks in the Zechstein group of Permian era, Heimdal Formation of the Palaeocene era and Grid Formation of Eocene era.

The appraisal/delineation drilling in 2019 found resources in the Jurassic/Cretaceous reservoirs.

Solveig Phase 2 will target the Synrift reservoir of the Late Devonian (Buchan equivalent formation) era with additional wells in Segment B. The development will also include Segments A and D of the Solveig field, as well as the Outer Wedge reservoir of the late-Permian Rotliegendes Group in Segment D.

The two developments are estimated to contain recoverable resources of 93 million metric barrels of oil equivalent (Mmboe). Symra is estimated to hold expected recoverable resources of 7.4 million standard cubic metres of oil equivalent (46.55 million barrels of oil).

Utsira High project development details

The proposed Norwegian offshore development will involve two subsea tiebacks to the Ivar Aasen and Edvard Grieg production platforms, which are located in the area and are operated by Aker BP.

Symra and Solveig Phase 2 are planned to be developed utilising the existing processing capacity of the Ivar Aasen and Edvard Grieg platforms.

The Symra field development will include four production wells via a four-slot integrated template structure/template and a drill centre. The subsea system will include pipelines for oil, gas lift, water injection and umbilical.

The Symra field will be tied back to the Ivar Aasen production platform for partial processing. Oil and gas from the field will undergo final processing at the Edvard Grieg platform.

Solveig Phase 2 development will comprise two drill centres, including a single satellite and a template drill centre, two multilateral producers and a water injection well.

Solveig Phase 2, which is an extension of the PDO for Phase 1 of the Solveig field, will be developed utilising the existing infrastructure such as pipeline end manifolds with tie-in connection points.

Solveig Phase 2 will be tied back to the Edvard Grieg platform via existing infrastructure at Solveig.

The Utsira High project will receive electrical power from shore, significantly reducing carbon dioxide emissions from production.

Production platforms details

The Ivar Aasen platform is a manned production, drilling and accommodation platform equipped with digital twin technology.

Located on the western side of Utsira High, the 30,000t Edvard Grieg platform is a processing platform with a bottom-fixed steel jacket situated at a water depth of 109m. It was developed as a host platform for developing new fields in the area. Solveig field phase 1 is already tied to the platform.

Oil and gas transportation details

The oil and gas from the Ivar Aasen platform are transported to the Edvard Grieg platform for final processing.

The processed oil is routed from the Edvard Grieg platform to Oseberg Transport System (OTS) via Edvard Grieg Oil Pipeline and Grane Oil Pipeline. It is transported via the OTS to the Sture onshore terminal.

The processed gas is exported through the Utsira High Gas Pipeline to the Scottish Area Gas Evacuation pipeline system on the British continental shelf and further to an onshore terminal.

Contractors involved

Norwegian-based engineering company Moreld Apply was contracted to provide engineering, procurement, construction and installation (EPCI) services for the Edvard Grieg platform topside modification for the Utsira High project in March 2023. The company was also awarded the front-end engineering and design (FEED) contract for the Edvard Grieg topside modifications in 2022.

Aibel, an energy infrastructure construction company also based in Norway, was awarded a contract to provide EPCI services for modifications to the Ivar Aasen platform for the tie-back of the Symra field in March 2023.

Energy technology company TechnipFMC was awarded a contract to provide integrated EPCI services for the subsea production systems, controls, pipelines and umbilicals of the Utsira High project in January 2023. The contract was awarded following a FEED study for the optimisation of the field layout.

NKT, a cable and cable accessories supplier, completed the supply and installation of power cable systems to provide power supply to six offshore platforms in the Utsira High area, including Edvard Grieg and Ivar Aasen, from the shore in March 2023.