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IOG set to recommission North Sea pipeline

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World Pipelines,

A project aimed at bringing a decommissioned southern North Sea (SNS) gas pipeline back to life could flow enough gas to heat 9 million UK homes for a year by 2020. This project is expected to save £100 million on commissioning a new pipeline.

The 90 km decommissioned Thames Gas pipeline, which comes in at Bacton (Norfolk, UK), was bought by Independent Oil & Gas (IOG) for £1 this year to be recommissioned to bring in more than 500 billion ft3 of gas from IOG’s gas hubs.

In the first recommissioning of a decommissioned SNS pipeline, IOG plans to drill 10 wells, lay over 70 km of new connector pipelines, and install up to five new platforms for its Blythe and Elgood and Vulcan Satellite hubs. The Harvey appraisal asset, between the Blythe and Vulcan hubs, has been identified as a large discovery and is also likely to be part of the project as a third hub to the development.

Supply chain companies are being invited to work with IOG, with a prize of deferred ‘significant’ payment on production, estimated at 150 million ft3/d at its peak by 2020.

IOG’s CEO, Mark Routh, revealed at East of England Energy’s (EEEGR’s) EEEGR's SNS Rejuvenation Special Interest Group: “This is hub strategy in action,” adding that “this has never been done before.”

According to Routh, IOG’s business plan is to acquire assets at low cost, own and operate them 100%, and get them producing. “It is a lot of gas and it will be beneficial for the UK and the supply chain in this area.”

“We compared the price of a new pipeline – £100 million – and the time it would take to acquire and permit its installation; two or more years. In CAPEX terms, we are already £100 million ahead.”

IOG now had everything it needed for the Blythe and Elgood field development plan and the environmental surveys started in February in preparation for the submission of the Field Development Plans to the Oil & Gas Authority later this month, he said.

The project to recommission a 60 km section of the Thames pipeline is currently under way, with plans to send Intelligent pigs down the 24 in. pipeline to assess its condition. A solution to any problems could be a 16 in. pipeline run through the current pipeline, which would be subject to more rigorous inspection than many other pipelines in the SNS, said Routh.

Two key personnel from the nearby analogous Clipper South gas field development have joined IOG for the project, Andrew Hockey, as Deputy CEO and Graham Cox, as SNS Project Manager.

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