Where others gave up Maersk Oil got 40 million barrels

Maersk Oil has a reputation for producing oil and gas from mature fields that others have given up on.

In the UK North Sea, for example, the company has redeveloped a field to produce an additional 45 million barrels of oil and generate some USD 4.2 billion in revenue in just five years.

In 1997 BP and its partners abandoned the Donan oilfield, as it was then named, situated 235 kilometres north east of Aberdeen, after it had produced some 15 million barrels. Low oil prices and issues with development wells had made the field unviable.

But in 2005, Maersk Oil acquired the field, renamed Dumbarton, as part of the acquisition of Kerr-McGee’s UK assets.

“We looked at the seismic surveys of Dumbarton, and an adjacent field called Lochranza. Although we had the same seismic as BP, we reinterpreted the data in a new way, which is why we saw the potential for further development of both fields,” says Steve Daines, then director of exploration for Maersk Oil UK.

Even further potential

"In particular, we saw a new area of untapped potential which had not been developed in the original field. The appraisal well result on the abandoned field was very positive, and this was the first step in realising that the project could be a commercial success," Mr Daines continues.

Dumbarton and Lochranza have been producing around 20,000 barrels a day via the Global Producer 3 FPSO vessel.

The Dumbarton area will continue to be an important part of Maersk Oil’s UK portfolio for years to come as new potential is identified. And Maersk Oil’s commitment to this previously abandoned hub is so strong that in 2012 the company assumed 100% ownership over both the Dumbarton field and the GP3.