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Shell to tie Fram back to Shearwater

Shell to tie Fram back to Shearwater

View all news from: Shell UK Ltd
View directory entry for: Shell UK Ltd

25 October 2017

Shell has submitted plans to develop the Fram gas and gas condensate field in the UK North Sea as a subsea tieback to the Shearwater platform.

The project, in Blocks 29/3a, 29/4c, 29/8a, 29/9c in the Central North Sea, had been considered as a standalone development, using a floating production unit, but those plans were withdrawn following a 2012-13 drilling campaign - i.e. recoverable volumes in the field were not as high as expected.

The revised development will make use of the existing Starling subsea infrastructure and see the field developed as a gas project using kinetic hydrate inhibitors, with start-up targeted for 2020.

According to an Environmental Statement on the development, Shell wants to develop Fram using two horizontal wells in the Drill Centre East (DCE) area.

A new flowline would transport fluids to the existing Starling manifold (about 15km away), comingled with Starling production fluids and from there transport the production via existing infrastructure to the Shearwater platform, 33km away.

Fluids from the Shearwater platform are exported through the Shearwater Elgin Area Line (SEAL) and Forties Pipeline System (FPS) pipelines.

No modifications would be required to the Shearwater topsides, says Shell. Minor topsides changes include an upgrade to the control system and the existing subsea chemical injection system will be modified to provide a Low Dose Hydrate Inhibition system.

According to Shell's ES, in Q4 this year, Dana Petroleum is planning to submit an ES of its own for the proposed Arran subsea tieback, which will also tie into Shearwater if approved. If the project goes ahead, Dana is anticipating to start production from the Arran field in 2021, one year after the proposed Fram start-up, says Shell.

Following initial appraisal in 2009, Fram was planned to be developed as an oil and gas field via eight subsea production wells at two drilling centres. The drill centres were to be connected by a flowline bundle including two towhead manifolds and two midline structures.


Oil and gas was to be processed on a new FPSO with oil exported via shuttle tanker and gas via a new export pipeline tied to the existing Fulmar Gas Line.

An ES supporting the initial Fram field development was approved in September 2012, but during the 20122013 drilling campaign, unexpected reservoir results were produced that led to the suspension and "subsequent re-framing of the project" concept, says the latest ES.