May 31 (UPI) -- A component of a drilling platform for development of the Johan Sverdrup oil field in the North Sea is on its way to its final destination, Equinor stated.
The company announced a 22,000-ton top half of a drilling platform has left a shipyard in Norway operated by Norwegian service company Aibel. The structure, called the topside, is on its way to the North Sea oil field for installation as one of the four platforms envisioned for the first phase of development of Johan Sverdrup.
"This marks an important milestone for the Johan Sverdrup partnership, Aibel and the Norwegian supplier industry" Trond Bokn, a senior vice president for Johan Sverdrup at Equinor, said in a statement.
Aibel secured the $980 million contract for the topside three years ago. In April, the Norwegian oil major, formerly known as Statoil, signed a letter of intent with the company to support the second phase of Johan Sverdrup development.
Norway is an important oil and gas producer for the global economy, coming in just behind Russia when it comes to supplying the European market.
Development of the phase 1 part of Johan Sverdrup is already underway and on pace for operations by late 2019. Phase 2 will take production capacity from around 440,000 barrels of oil per day to 660,000 barrels per day by 2022.
Equinor, which holds a majority share in the Johan Sverdrup partnership, in February revealed the resource range has been updated slightly, from 3 billion barrels of oil equivalent to 3.1 billion barrels of oil equivalent.
Plans for phase 2 will be submitted to Norwegian regulators in the second half of this year and the total field is expected to stay in production for about 50 years.