Fairfield energy has announced that it is to decommission its Dunlin Alpha platform in the North Sea due to the low oil price and operating difficulties. Fairfield confirmed that production from all Dunlin cluster fields will shut down in mid-June.
Originally operated by Shell, Fairfield took control of the Dunlin, Dunlin SW, Merlin and Osprey fields in 2008. It was first projected to last 25 years but actually produced oil for 37.
Until the closure in mid-June, Dunlin Alpha will remain “fully manned and operational”, exporting third-party oil into the Brent system pipeline. The decommissioning process, expected to cost about £400 million, is subject to regulatory approvals. It will be finalised and approved in conjunction with the Department of Energy and Climate Change, the Oil and Gas Authority and other relevant regulatory industry bodies and shareholders.
Chief Executive of Fairfield, David Peattie remarked: “The Dunlin asset has now achieved maximum economic recovery. Taking into account the asset’s lifecycle, the depressed oil price and challenging operational conditions in the North Sea, starting the decommisioning process is the most appropriate action.
“Our investment programme has prolonged the life of Dunlin, leading to a notable contribution to the British economy and the creation of jobs in North Sea oil and gas.
“We are fully committed to delivering a safe and transparent decommissioning process and will work closely with staff and stakeholders to achieve this”.
The Dunlin field is located 500km north-northeast of Aberdeen within the East Shetland basin, and 11.2km from the boundary line with Norway.