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Schiehallion back in business

The Glen Lyon FPSO (floating production storage and offloading) vessel. Image courtesy of BP.

BP HAS announced the first oil from the redeveloped Schiehallion area west of Shetland – but the fossil fuel will be taken to Rotterdam rather than at Sullom Voe for processing.

The Schiehallion and the adjacent Loyal fields, which were first developed in the 1990s, have been redeveloped through the Quad 204 project by BP and partners Shell and Siccar Point Energy.

However, the oil will bypass Sullom Voe. The old Schiehallion field was a lucrative source of business for the isles’ oil terminal over the years and there was dismay locally when BP announced 18 months ago that it would be processed in Rotterdam once the fields were back up and running.

Schiehallion accounted for a fifth of tanker movements and 40 per cent of production at Sullom Voe prior to the fields being suspended in 2013.

An estimated 450 million barrels of oil is expected to be taken from Schiehallion through to 2035 and beyond, with 130,000 barrels of oil per day due to be produced.

BP will use a 270-metre long floating production storage and offloading (FPSO) vessel the Glen Lyon anchored to the seabed using 20 mooring lines, each almost a mile long. 

The vessel is capable of processing and exporting up to 130,000 barrels of oil a day and storing up to 800,000 barrels of oil. 

BP – which is in the process of transferring management of the Sullom Voe terminal over to EnQuest – added that it is looking to double its North Sea production to 200,000 barrels a day by 2020, with production from the new Clair Ridge  project expected in 2018.

The multinational group’s chief executive Bob Dudley said the development marks an “important milestone” for the company as it returns to growth in the area.

“As one of the series of important, higher-margin major projects that are now steadily coming on line for BP, it also underpins our expectation for growing production and cash flows from our upstream business over the coming few years,” he said.