OIL has started flowing from the Clair Ridge project west of Shetland, which is expected to produce 640 million barrels of oil.
The oil will be brought to Sullom Voe Terminal through the existing Clair pipeline.
The project is designed for 40 years of production and it could peak at 120,000 barrels of oil per day.
It is the second phase of development of the Clair field, which is located 75 kilometres west of Shetland, and it involves BP and co-venturers Shell, Chevron and ConocoPhillips.
BP chief executive of upstream Bernard Looney said: “The start-up of Clair Ridge is a culmination of decades of persistence. Clair was the first discovery we made in the West of Shetland area in 1977.
“But trying to access and produce its seven billion barrels proved very difficult. We had to leverage our technology and ingenuity to successfully bring on the first phase of this development in 2005.
“And now more than 40 years after the original discovery, we have first oil from Clair Ridge, one of the largest recent investments in the UK. This is a major milestone for our upstream business and highlights BP’s continued commitment to the North Sea region.”
Forty million extra barrels of oil is expected to be produced thanks to BP’s enchanted oil recovery technology LoSal, which increases oil recover from reservoirs by using reduced salinity water in water injection.
New facilities for the production cost £4.5 billion, with two new bridge-linked platforms and oil and gas export pipelines constructed.
Oil and Gas Authority (OGA) chief executive Dr Andy Samuel said: “First oil from the newly built Clair Ridge platform is a major milestone for the UKCS. The OGA continues to view the West of Shetland as strategically important with substantial remaining potential.
“The Clair Field has in excess of seven billion barrels in place and is expected to sustain production for many decades to come, with significant scope for further phases of development.”
Clair partners are evaluating a potential third phase of development of the field.
The first phase of development of Clair began production in 2005, targeting approximately 300 million barrels.
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