“The completion of this major project is testament to Shell’s long-standing commitment to the UK North Sea.”

Shell U.K. Ltd (“Shell”), a subsidiary of Shell plc, has completed the restart of operations at the Pierce field in the UK Central North Sea, following a significant upgrade to allow gas to be produced after years of the field producing only oil.

The Pierce field lies around 165 miles (265km) east of Aberdeen, Scotland, in water depths of around 262 feet (85m). It was discovered in 1975, with oil being produced since 1999.

The redevelopment of the Pierce field is part of Shell UK’s broader intent to invest £20-25 billion in the UK energy system in the next decade, subject to Board approval and a stable investment climate, 75% of which will be focused on the development of low and zero-carbon products and services.

Shell Upstream Director, Zoe Yujnovich, said:

“The completion of this major project is testament to Shell’s long-standing commitment to the UK North Sea. We took this investment decision in 2019, and it is now increasing locally produced gas right at the time when this additional supply is critically important for the UK’s energy security. It’s a source of huge satisfaction when projects like Pierce come to fruition.”

Pierce is a joint arrangement between Shell companies (operator, 92.52%) and Ithaca Energy (UK) Limited (7.48%.)

Substantial modifications were made to the Haewene Brim floating production, storage and offloading vessel (FPSO), which is used to produce hydrocarbons at the Pierce field. A new subsea gas export line was also installed, connecting to the SEGAL pipeline system, which brings gas ashore at St Fergus, north of Aberdeen.

To enable the upgrade, the FPSO, which is owned and operated by Bluewater, stopped producing in October 2021. It then spent six months in dry dock where it was transformed into a vessel that could also produce gas, which had previously been re-injected into the reservoir.

Peak production is expected to reach 30,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day, which is more than twice the production prior to the redevelopment, with more gas being produced than oil. The gas will be sent through newly installed subsea pipelines and the oil will be transported by tanker, as before.

The redevelopment of the field is consistent with the UK Government’s North Sea Transition Deal and Shell’s Powering Progress strategy, providing the energy people need today while helping to fund investments in the low-carbon energy system of the future.

Other recent UK projects include Shell’s plans to develop floating offshore wind in Scotland which could bring clean energy to power the equivalent of 6 million homes, the Jackdaw gas field, as well as our commitment to growing the UK’s electric vehicle charging infrastructure.

This week, Britain committed to granting hundreds of licences for North Sea oil and gas extraction as part of efforts to become more energy independent.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak confirmed plans for more than 100 licences, which attracted bids earlier this year and said hundreds of future licenses could also be granted. The Prime Minister also announced fresh support for two carbon capture and storage (CCS) clusters in Scotland and northern England.

Photo credit: Photographic Services, Shell International Limited.

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