Contract for new oilfield awarded

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The Independent Online
SHELL AND BP have awarded a contract worth up to dollars 750m (pounds 487m) for a floating production system to McDermott of the US and Golar Nor of Norway to develop Foinaven oilfield, west of Shetland, which was discovered last year, writes Mary Fagan.

BP said the full contract would be awarded later this year after consent for the development is given by the Department of Trade and Industry and it is approved by the boards of BP and Shell.

The agreement will cover design, engineering and operation of the production system, which will be based on a refitted Finnish supply vessel upgraded to store 300,000 barrels of oil. The consortium will also provide a tanker shuttle service from storage vessels to the onshore terminal.

The Foinaven field is the first to be developed in the area and will produce oil from some of the deepest waters around Britain. John Browne, chief executive of BP Exploration, said: 'This is an innovative scheme designed to produce early oil efficiently, safely and at low cost while we appraise the wider potential of the Shetland basin and consider options for the next phase.'

Phase one of the development envisages an output of 75,000 barrels of oil a day, with production starting in late 1995 or early 1996.

Recoverable reserves are thought to be between 250 million and 500 million barrels. BP, which is the field operator, has an 80 per cent share in the project.

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