French integrated oil and gas company Total has commenced oil production from the Ekofisk South project in the Norwegian North Sea.

Oil production at the Ekofisk field began about two months ahead of schedule, while the project is set to increase recovery in the field located in the PL 018 licence where the company has a 39.9% interest.

Ekofisk South platform’s production capacity is said to be 70,000 barrels of oil equivalent (boe) per day.

In June 2011, the Norwegian Parliament approved the plan for development and operation of the Ekofisk South project, which includes the drilling of 35 new production wells and eight injection wells.

According to Total, the plan was approved together with the plan for the nearby Eldfisk II project in the same licence, where start-up of oil production is scheduled for early 2015.

Total exploration and production Northern Europe senior vice president Patrice de Viviès said, together with those of Eldfisk II in 2015 and Martin Linge in late 2016, the start-up will increase the company’s production in Norway by 2017.

"Ekofisk South is also the first in a series of major start-ups that will contribute to the group’s objective to grow its production potential to three million barrels of oil equivalent per day by 2017," Viviès added.

Partners in the PL 018 licence include Total (39.9%), ConocoPhillips (35.11%, operator), Eni (12.39%), Statoil (7.6%) and Petoro (five percent).

Discovered in 1969, Ekofisk is located approximately 300km off the Norwegian coast. Since the late 1960s, the Total Group developed various Norwegian fields, such as Frigg and Heimdal.

The company holds interests in 100 production licences in offshore Norway, 29 as operator.

Image: Norway – Eldfisk and Ekofisk fields. Photo courtesy of Trois Cube.