BP is now working to finalise a decision on whether oil will continue to be exported from the Clair fields to Sullom Voe Terminal.
The pivotal decision from the energy giant and its partners whether to continue to use the Clair pipeline into the facility could determine the long-term viability of the terminal.
A warning was made last year that the terminal could be forced to close as soon as 2025 if BP decided to bypass the isles when exporting the oil from the west of Shetland.
Negotiations over the export of Clair oil have been ongoing between BP and terminal operator EnQuest for months.
In an update on Thursday, a spokesperson for BP said: “BP and the Clair field partners have completed their evaluation of options and are now working to finalise a decision on the long-term export route.
“The successful party will be notified as soon as this decision has been finalised and any required regulatory response is received.”
Shetland Islands Council, which operates the port of Sullom Voe, has been involved in the process.
Chief executive Maggie Sandison recently said she believed the “options that have been presented to sustain Sullom Voe Terminal are as good as we can make them”.
“I think there’s a really positive offer being made to Clair to continue to use Sullom Voe, and I’m hoping that that offer is successful in the decision making process,” she added.
Sandison said delays in the process have been in part down to the emerging situation over Shetland’s energy future.
In the mix is the potential for offshore oil platforms to be powered by energy from the shore – something that is a key part of plans for a Shetland energy hub.
With the 600MW interconnector between Shetland and the Scottish mainland getting the go-ahead earlier this year, this is something now firmly on the table.
Sandison said the other aspect to the process was the world scenario with Covid-19.
The Clair field, located 75 kilometres to the northwest of Shetland mainland, was discovered as early as 1977 and holds estimated reserves of seven billion barrels.
First oil flowed from the latest development in the field, Clair Ridge, in 2018.
EnQuest said it would not comment on the process.
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