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UK-based oil and gas exploration and production company Dana Petroleum has completed keel laying for the floating, storage, production and offloading vessel (FPSO) for the Western Isles project in the North Sea.

A new $400m oil production vessel, the Western Isles project is expected to transfer nearly 26,000 tonnes and produce and store up to 40,000 barrels of oil a day.

Plateau production from the field is anticipated to add more than 30,000 boepd to Dana’s UK production.

Dana, along with its partner Cieco, has invested $1.6bn in nine well developments of two oil fields called Harris and Barra in the northern North Sea.

"Plateau production from the field is anticipated to add more than 30,000 boepd to Dana’s UK production."

The fields are located 160km east of the Shetlands and 12km west of the Tern field.

The scope of the project will include subsea development of five production and four water injection wells and two exploration wells tied back to a new build FPSO, with oil exportation using shuttle tankers.

Dana said the hull and topsides of the FPSO are being built in China, while the project has about 70% content from UK.

Once completed, the vessel will be transported to the North Sea, where it will begin operations in late 2015.

Dana Group chief executive Marcus Richards said keel laying of the FPSO is a major milestone for the Western Isles project.

"We aim to significantly grow our production over the next five years and this project is vital to helping us achieve that goal," Richards added.

Dana holds a 77% share in the project, while Japan-based upstream exploration and production company Cieco holds the remaining 23%.

Image: Keel laying ceremony. Photo courtesy of Dana Petroleum.