LONDON, Dec. 11 (UPI) -- British energy company BP said it started sea trials for a floating production platform that will serve as a hub for developments west of the Shetland Islands.
BP, working on behalf of a consortium that includes Royal Dutch Shell and Austrian energy company OMV, said it started sea trials for its Glen Lyon floating production storage and offload vessel. The vessel will serve eventually as a hub for a development in the North Sea meant to extend the life of the regional Schiehallion and Loyal fields.
In production since 1998, the two fields have combined so far for 400 million barrels of oil. The new development, dubbed Quad204, aims to tap into the remaining 450 million barrels yet to be exploited.
"This important milestone is consistent with BP's strategy to sustain a competitive, high quality business in the North Sea region" said Trevor Garlick, Regional President for BP's North Sea business
BP is in the middle of a five-year, $4.5 billion investment program in the North Sea. The strategy comes as the low price of oil is starving companies of the capital needed to fund exploration and production.
BP Chief Executive Officer Bob Dudley has said the company was navigating a "weaker environment." In April, Garlick said the Shetland campaign is emblematic of the "long-term competitiveness of BP's North Sea business."
The Glyn Lyon offshore facility can process and export as much as 130,000 barrels of oil per day and store as much as 800,000 barrels of oil.