Development of Alpha North, a Statoil-operated satellite close to its Sleipner West field in the North Sea, has been approved by the licensees. The project will embrace three-four wells and subsea production systems, and is estimated at roughly NOK 3 billion. Plans call for the field to begin producing gas and condensate (light oil) on October 1, 2004. "It will be tied back to the Sleipner T gas treatment platform on Sleipner East via an 18-kilometer pipeline," explains project manager Helge Skjold. "The gas is rich in carbon dioxide, and will accordingly be passed through the T platform's separation plant to remove this substance." Carbon dioxide separated from the wellstream on Sleipner T is pumped into the Utsira aquifer – a process unique to the Sleipner West field world-wide.
Technically recoverable reserves in Alpha North are put at approximately 13 billion cubic meters of gas and about 32 million barrels of condensate. The development is covered by the plan for development and operation of the main Sleipner West field. Statoil has a 49.5 percent interest in the satellite. Its partners are ExxonMobil (32.24 percent), Norsk Hydro (8.85 percent) and TotalFinaElf (9.41 percent).