TOTAL E&P UK PLC is one of the largest oil and gas operators in the
North Sea. It is a subsidiary of the TOTAL Group, an international energy
company, which is headquartered in Paris and has operations in
The Group’s operations cover the entire oil and gas chain – oil and gas
exploration and production, trading and shipping, refining and marketing,
as well as chemicals. It employs more than 110,000 people worldwide.
The UK upstream subsidiary, TOTAL E&P UK, which has its headquarters
in Europe’s oil capital, Aberdeen, is one of the largest operators in the UK
sector of the North Sea in terms of production and reserves.
The company employs some 600 people. As an international business,
TOTAL E&P UK adds value through a mix of both local and expatriate staff.
TOTAL E&P UK owns and operates the Alwyn North, Dunbar, Ellon, Grant,
Nuggets and Otter Fields in the Northern North Sea. In addition, it is
operator of the Elgin and Franklin Fields in the Central Graben Area.
The company has a number of non-operated interests in the Central and
Northern North Sea including Bruce, ETAP Alba, Armada and Nelson and
has an interest in the Sullom Voe Oil Terminal in Shetland.
Onshore, TOTAL E&P UK operates the St Fergus Gas Terminal on the
northeast coast of Scotland, which receives and processes up to 15 per
cent of the UK's natural gas requirements from some 20 fields in the UK
It owns 100 per cent of the terminal’s UK facilities and 50 per cent of its
Common Facilities including those on the MCP-01 platform; the remainder
of the plant is owned by the Norwegian association, Gassled.
The company (and/or its affiliate) has a 100 per cent interest in the UK Frigg
pipeline. It also has an interest in the SEAL (Shearwater Elgin Area Line)
pipeline through E.F Oil and Gas Limited (EFOG), owned 77.5 per cent by
Elf Exploration UK PLC and 22.5 per cent by Gaz de France; EFOG has a
25.73 per cent share in SEAL.
The TOTAL Group has a 10 per cent shareholding in Interconnector (UK)
Limited, the company which owns and operates the Gas Interconnector
between Bacton and Zeebrugge.
Safety, Health and Environment
TOTAL E&P UK conducts all its activities taking into account the safety of
people and property, the preservation of natural resources and the
protection of the environment. Our objective is an accident-free workplace
and ‘Think Safety First’ is the watchword for all our operations, both
onshore and offshore.
We set measurable safety, health and environmental objectives and
continually strive to improve our performance, taking steps to make certain
all employees and contractors are equipped to do so. We develop,
maintain and test emergency plans and help raise industry standards by
consulting and working with partners, suppliers, competitors, regulators
and the public.
We endeavour to create a positive culture for the advancement of safety,
health and environmental issues by encouraging a spirit of openness and
co-operation. Our performance is reviewed and audited. Those who
contribute to improvement are recognised and it is an important element
of performance evaluation for all employees, particularly those with
In 2002 TOTAL E&P UK was awarded company-wide registration to
ISO 14001, the international Environmental Management System
standard. This is recognised throughout the world as a mark of ‘good
business practice’ and as a genuine commitment to sustainable
development. TOTAL is proud of this achievement, and through the
maintenance of its management system, aims to continue to improve its
The Alwyn Area lies in the UK sector of the North Sea
160 kilometres east of the Shetland Islands and 440 kilometres
north-east of Aberdeen. It comprises five fields – Alwyn North,
Dunbar, Ellon, Grant and Nuggets. Collectively the fields
produce some 150,000 barrels of oil equivalent a day.
Alwyn North is the hub of the Alwyn Area and the support
centre for the neighbouring fields. It supplies them with power
and water while simultaneously receiving water and gas via a
network of subsea cables and pipelines.
The Alwyn Area typifies how, through innovation and
technological developments, North Sea oil and gas fields can be
extended far beyond original estimates. Technological
developments are making it viable to develop small, previously
uneconomic accumulations, often discovered decades ago,
through the infrastructure of long-established fields.
The fields developed around Alwyn North have made maximum
use of the existing infrastructure – the Alwyn North platform, the
Frigg Transportation System and the St Fergus Gas Terminal.
Exploration licences for the Alwyn Area were granted in 1965 and drilling
started in 1971. Within a year the Dunbar, Ellon and Grant fields had been
discovered but at that time they were not economic prospects.
Four years later the Alwyn North Field was discovered. Its complex
geological structure meant that extensive and expensive evaluation was
required. Five separate compartments were found – Statfjord containing
gas with condensate, and Brent North, Brent North West, Brent East and
Brent South West with oil.
In 1980 technological advances made a three-dimensional seismic survey
possible and provided the additional information to allow the completion, in
1982, of a £1,500 million plan to develop Alwyn North including the Brent
and Statfjord reservoirs. Production started in 1987.
The most southerly reservoir, Brent South West, was developed
independently as a subsea satellite – the Alwyn North Extension – and
was brought onstream in 1992. A year later the Alwyn North Triassic
reservoir was discovered beneath the original discoveries.
Around £700 million was then spent on developing the Dunbar Field to make
maximum use of the Alwyn North platforms, the Frigg Transportation
System and the St Fergus Gas Terminal to which gas is exported. Dunbar
came onstream in 1994 and in turn made its satellite fields, Ellon and Grant
economically viable. They started production in 1995 and 1998 respectively.
In 1999 improvements to the gas plant on Alwyn North were completed.
This increased processing capacity on the platform and enabled the
development of the nearby Nuggets Fields.
N20 N37 3/9a-2 N10 3/9a-5 N22 N33 3/10b-1
P&A P&A P&A P&A
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3500 Dunlin 3500
Dunlin Shetland Group
Cromer Knoll Group
Kimm. Clay Fm.
5000 Heather 5000
BRENT NORTH WEST PANEL BRENT EAST PANEL
5500 OWC Oil Water Contact 5500
GDT Gas Down To 0 Kms 10 TRIASSIC MAIN PANEL
GWC Gas Water Contact Dunlin
Alwyn North consists of two platforms linked by a 73-metre bridge, which
sits 31 metres above the water. The platforms stand in 126 metres of
water. North Alwyn A (NAA) is the drilling and accommodation platform.
North Alwyn B (NAB) houses the processing facilities.
Separating the drilling and treatment facilities offered numerous
advantages with safety the most important consideration. However it
also allowed NAA, with its four-legged steel jacket, to be installed and to
begin drilling operations in 1986. This was a full year before NAB, which
has an eight-legged steel jacket, was ready.
The bridge is the passage for the crew to walk between the two
installations and the link between the drilling and well facilities on NAA
and the process facilities on NAB. Untreated oil and gas cross the bridge
from NAA to be processed ready for export by pipeline.
It also carries the links for the systems that are common to both platforms –
electrical power, fire and gas control, emergency shut-down system,
process control and telecommunications.
Alwyn North was innovative in that two platforms were built for greater
safety. A further key safety feature on NAA is a thick blast wall protecting
the high pressure module from the accommodation area.
There are seven 58-man lifeboats on NAA and four 58-man lifeboats on
NAB, more than enough to cope with the maximum number onboard.
The platform has been designed to withstand winds of more than
160 kilometres an hour and 30 metre waves, the kind of conditions it may
occasionally have to face in the hostile North Sea.
Life Offshore Alwyn
TOTAL E&P UK makes every effort to ensure that those who live
and work on the Alwyn North platform are as safe and
comfortable as possible during their stay.
There are 108 cabins on NAA, each with two or three beds. Each
cabin has its own toilet and shower facilities and a TV with
satellite channels. All the accommodation is contained within a
safe refuge area, which has been designed to withstand every
sort of emergency to allow the crew time to reach the lifeboats
The platform has a 70-seat cinema, a gymnasium, an open
recreation area and a quiet room. In addition to the communication
systems that allow operational staff to contact the team
onshore, there are public telephones for the crew to keep in
touch with their families.
Mail and newspapers are sent on days when there are helicopter
flights. Other supplies and equipment are normally dispatched by
boat from Aberdeen, a journey that takes around a day.
The restaurant, with a plentiful supply of good food, is a lively
and sociable centre of life onboard the platform
The Dunbar Field is situated around
22 kilometres south of Alwyn North. It was
discovered in 1973 and came onstream in 1994
as production from Alwyn North reached its
plateau. The field produces around 70,000
barrels of oil equivalent per day.
The Dunbar platform sits in 145 metres of water.
It has a four-legged jacket 167 metres high and
safety was the primary concern when it was
designed. Its two 45-man freefall lifeboats are
located in the protected environment of a
safe refuge area, which also contains the
control room. They are as far as possible from
the platform’s hazardous areas and are
protected by blast walls.
The platform is manned by a core crew of 21
although a new accommodation module,
installed in 2002, provides bed space for up to
The development of Dunbar made the Ellon and
Grant satellite fields, discovered in 1973 and
1977 respectively, viable. These subsea
developments, located around nine kilometres
from Dunbar are linked to the Dunbar platform
by flowlines and control umbilicals. Ellon was
started up in 1994 and Grant four years later.
When at plateau production the fields produce
around 17,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day.
Keeping costs to the minimum safe level has been crucial in the
development of Dunbar and innovative ways have had to be found to
maintain production. Two multiphase pumps are examples of such
innovation. Housed in a 650-tonne module on Dunbar and installed at a
cost of £54.5 million, they are the biggest pumps of their kind in the world.
As the field matures and the well pressure drops, increasing quantities of
water have to be pumped into the well to maintain pressure. The pumps
boost production for Dunbar, and its two satellites Ellon and Grant, by
keeping the pressure of the oil, water and gas consistent without the need
for the three being separated for treatment. Each pump can accommodate
around 40,000 barrels of liquid and 1.5 to 3.5 million cubic metres of
gas per day.
The oil and gas from the two subsea satellites Ellon and Grant arrive at
Dunbar through six-inch flowlines with all operations at the subsea
wellheads controlled through two umbilicals. The gas from Dunbar, Ellon
and Grant goes to Alwyn North for processing before joining the Frigg
Transportation System and being sent onto the St Fergus Gas Terminal
near Peterhead. Oil is exported to the Sullom Voe Oil Terminal in Shetland.
The Nuggets Cluster
The Nuggets Field lies around 20 kilometres south of Dunbar and Dunbar
was discovered between 1972 and 1991. It is a development of four
gas-bearing accumulations – N1 with two wells and N2, N3 and N4
with one well each. The five wells produce around 36,600 barrels of
oil equivalent per day.
The five isolated subsea wells that make up the Nuggets cluster are Nuggets N1
tied back via subsea pipelines to the Alwyn North platform, but NGB
controlled via the Dunbar platform. From Alwyn North, Nuggets’ gas NGA Nuggets N1
is exported via the Frigg line to the St Fergus Gas Terminal for
processing and distribution.
Nuggets N2 Nuggets N3
Manifold Nuggets N3
N1, N2 and N3 began production in November 2001. N4, which is
tied back via a 13-kilometre subsea pipeline to the N3 manifold, NGD
came onstream in October 2003. At a total length of 67 km, the
Nuggets N4 tieback is the longest in the UK sector of the North Sea.
The Otter Field
The Otter Field lies 150 kilometres north east of Shetland, in a
ble o t
ca e t an
er lin or
water depth of 182 metres making it one of the most northerly and yp
ow tion orm
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2 wa u
deepest subsea tiebacks in the North Sea. First oil flowed in jection from Tern
October 2002; the plateau production rate is around 30,000 barrels
of oil per day. Pipeline
The development, which is tied back to Shell’s Eider platform, Um
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comprises five subsea wells – three oil producers and two water
'' W Pip
injectors. Oil is exported to the Sullom Voe Oil Terminal in Shetland
via the Brent system while gas is exported to the St Fergus Gas
Terminal via the FLAGS pipeline system. Otter
Otter is a prime example of how technical innovation and
commercial effectiveness within the oil and gas industry can unlock
the stranded reserves of the UK Continental Shelf (UKCS). The
development of Otter not only adds new reserves but also extends Water
(EOR – Enhanced Oil Recovery)
the life of field of Eider.
Total Operated Block
Gas Field Total Total
Condensate Field 30/10a
01° 36’E 02° 00’E
An exploration well spudded in February 2002 led to a new discovery in the
Alwyn Area – Forvie North in Block 3/15, 440 kilometres north-east of
Aberdeen. The gas and condensate find lies 16 kilometres from the Dunbar
platform and 33 kilometres from the Alwyn North platform.
This discovery strengthens the company’s activities in the Northern North
Sea and endorses TOTAL’s strategy to apply selective criteria to exploration
prospects in the mature UKCS. Studies are underway to develop Forvie
North, which in tests showed the well to flow at a rate of one million cubic
metres of gas and 1,400 barrels of condensate per day.
TOTAL E&P UK continues to prolong the life of field and maximise ultimate
recovery of oil and gas reserves in the Alwyn Area by investing in new
technology. For example, the multiphase pumps on Dunbar, miscible gas
injection and infill drilling on Alwyn North, and the development of the cluster
of Nuggets Fields.
Such initiatives are helping to extend the life of the Alwyn Area far beyond
original estimates. In addition, TOTAL E&P UK’s discovery of Forvie North in
2002 assures further development of the Alwyn Area and maximum use of
the existing infrastructure.
TOTAL E&P UK PLC 100%
TOTAL E&P UK PLC (operator) 54.296%
Dana Petroleum (E & P) Ltd 19.004%
Esso Exploration and Production UK Limited 13.350%
Shell UK Ltd 13.350%
TOTAL E&P UK PLC 100%