June 4 (UPI) -- With the installation of a 22,000 ton component of a platform in place, the Johan Sverdrup oil field is ready for production next year, Equinor said Monday.
The top half of a drilling platform left a shipyard in Norway operated by Norwegian service company Aibel last week. The structure, called the topside, is part of one of the four platforms envisioned for the first phase of development of Johan Sverdrup and was lifted into position during the weekend.
Installed in three hours, the company said it was likely the fastest completion of its kind in the industry.
"This is an important milestone in the Johan Sverdrup installation campaign. Two of the four Johan Sverdrup platforms are now in place," Trond Bokn, a senior Equinor vice president for Johan Sverdrup, said in a statement. "The power cables to the field were rolled out last week, and so far, the installation of Norway's biggest oil pipeline has gone very well, so this is definitely moving in the right direction."
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. Equinor, formerly known as Statoil, said a drilling platform could be operational late this year and first oil will be produced from the field in late 2019.
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.
Phase 2 will take production capacity from around 440,000 barrels of oil per day to 660,000 barrels per day by 2022. 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.
Contracts worth more than $5.7 billion have been awarded for Johan Sverdrup so far and most of those have gone to companies in Norway.