SURVEY work is due to take place to the west of Shetland over the coming weeks for the proposed Rosebank oil and gas field – and part of this is looking at a possible power cable to Shetland.
Environmental and geophysical surveys for the development will be taking place through to mid-May.
Rosebank has yet to achieve the final go-ahead from its developers, but it does have a licence from the UK Government.
There are estimates that it holds around 300 million barrels of oil.
Part of the survey will see a vessel explore a possible electricity cable route which could come towards the west mainland of Shetland. A graphic of the route shows a possible cable coming in between Muckle Roe and Vementry.
There is also an alternative electricity cable route which would come into Yell.
Meanwhile one of the Rosebank developers, Siccar Point, has just been bought by Ithaca Energy at a cost of more than $1 billion.
The company is also overseeing the controversial Cambo project, and Ithaca said on Thursday that both fields are “two of the largest undeveloped and most strategically important discoveries in the UK North Sea”.
The developer expressed its desire to pursue the Cambo project, which stalled last year but appears to have regained momentum as oil and gas prices rise.
Ithaca said a final investment decision is expected on both Rosebank and Cambo next year.
It comes as the UK Government said this week it would run a licensing round for new oil and gas projects in the autumn in the transition to net zero.
The Rosebank field was discovered in 2004 and lies about 130km northwest of Shetland in water depths of approximately 1,110m.
Equinor operates the development and holds a 40 per cent interest in the project, while Suncor Energy also sits on 40 per cent.
The 35-day survey work will be carried out by the vessel Edda Flora.
One activity will be environmental seabed sampling in the Rosebank field area, and along the future gas export route to the west of Shetland pipeline system.
This pipeline system carries natural gas from the West of Shetland area to Sullom Voe Terminal.
There will also be a geophysical survey using a ROV (remotely operated underwater vehicle) along the future gas export route and also the possible shore power cable routes.
Electrification of offshore assets is a key component of the Orion project, which aims to make Shetland a hub of clean energy.
The premise behind this is to reduce carbon emissions associated with the oil and gas sector in the waters around Shetland in the drive to net zero.
A floating production storage and offloading vessel (FPSO) will reportedly be used in the Rosebank field, which is located in harsh waters, to extract oil.
The proposed use of an FPSO, along with the fact that oil pipeline routes are not being surveyed by the Edda Flora, could indicate that the oil would be exported from the field by tanker, rather than being sent to Sullom Voe by underwater pipeline.
A spokesperson for Equinor confirmed it is preparing a survey as part of the Rosebank planning and an environmental impact study.
They said the survey will assess sea bed conditions to evaluate pipeline routing, placing of sub sea templates and anchors.
“It will also do some studies needed to assess possibilities for electrification and cables from shore,” the spokesperson added.
“It’s important to note that no decisions are made, but these studies are necessary to provide us and partners with facts and data when we consider options.”
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