Culzean – a project's progress

Maersk Oil has reduced the capital costs of its Culzean project by USD 500 million through improved drilling efficiency and robust upfront design and planning. It is a complicated high-pressure, high-temperature (HPHT) field requiring specific equipment and expertise. The Maersk Oil-operated project in the North Sea, which is expected to meet 5% of total UK gas demand, passed several milestones in 2016.

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March 22, 2016, Sailaway

The Culzean field is about 250km east of Aberdeen and is expected to produce 60,000-90,000 barrels of oil equivalent a day at plateau production. Here, one of the jackets – the steel frame which supports the deck and topside of a fixed offshore platform – is pictured sailing out from the Heerema Fabrication Groupʼs Vlissingen facility in the Netherlands for installation on site.

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May 27, 2016, A new rig

Maersk Drilling acquired the newbuild rig in late May and it came with a five-year drilling contract on Culzean valued at about USD 420 million. Pictured here, Maersk Highlander – designed to operate in water depths of 120m and with a drilling depth of more than 9,000m – is about to set sail from the yard in Singapore where she was built.

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July 25, 2016, Virtual reality

Before they started drilling, the team received extensive training in situations that are as close to real life as possible. Here they work in a simulator of Maersk Highlanderʼs drilling floor, running through the drills they will be using when actually out in the North Sea.

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August 18, 2016, Champagne moment

A bottle of champagne marked the namegiving of Maersk Highlander, decked out in ribbons in port in Invergordon, Scotland. Gretchen Watkins, now CEO of Maersk Oil, is pictured here with the rig, which is capable of handling the HPHT conditions on Culzean and has accommodation for up to 150 people.

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September 28, 2016, Drill time

Drilling of the first production well started in September, and will be followed by five more. Continuous drilling activity is planned over the next five years and first gas is expected to be produced from Culzean in 2019.

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From 2019, Interlinked platforms

When it starts production in 2019, Culzean will feature three platforms linked via two 100-metre long bridges. These will be the wellhead platform, where drilling and production takes place; a central processing facility, where the produced gas and condensate are processed and exported; and utilities and living quarters, providing accommodation, living space and services for the crew.

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