STAVANGER, Norway, March 31 (UPI) -- Norwegian energy company Statoil said Thursday construction on parts of the drilling infrastructure necessary to tap into the giant Johan Sverdrup are underway.
Statoil said construction started on an island north of Stavanger on the utility and living-quarters platform designated for Johan Sverdrup, one of the largest fields ever discovered.
Kjetel Digre, the project director for Johan Sverdrup, said development is moving forward on the project, with more than 14,000 people and 100 million working hours slated for 2016.
"The Johan Sverdrup project is growing every day," he said in a statement. "It is a complex puzzle with activities spread all over the world."
Statoil is betting in part on Johan Sverdrup, which could generate $200 billion in revenues over the next 50 years.
Statoil said the first phase of operations at the offshore field should yield up to 380,000 barrels of oil per day, roughly half of the expected peak production rate. Once in full swing, the field, the fifth largest ever discovered off the Norwegian coast, should account for up to 25 percent of all Norwegian petroleum production.
Platform installation at the Johan Sverdrup field on the country's continental shelf is slated for 2018.
Statoil and its partners at Johan Sverdrup, Maersk Oil and Lundin Petroleum, in early 2014 outlined the development plan for the field using multiple phases. At least half of the secondary construction contracts for Johan Sverdrup are slated for Norwegian companies.
The company tapped the first of eight preliminary wells for Johan Sverdrup in early March.