Fairfield equity = 70%
Mitsubishi equity = 30%

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Asset Overview

The Dunlin cluster of fields comprising Dunlin, Dunlin SW, Merlin, Osprey, Skye and Block 6 (the ‘‘Dunlin Cluster’’) is located in Blocks 211/18, 211/23 and 211/24 of the UKCS, some 500km north-northeast of Aberdeen within the East Shetland Basin and 11.2km from the boundary line with Norway.


The Dunlin field came on production in August 1978 and reached a plateau of approximately 120,000 bopd early in field life. During the following years there was an active programme of drilling and approximately 100 wells have been drilled from the Dunlin Platform. As with most Brent Formation oil fields, Dunlin relies on consistent water injection to maximise recovery. In 2001 the Dunlin Platform became fuel gas deficient and the result was a marked reduction in production caused by a reduction in water injection.

In April 2008, Fairfield and the MCX Companies, subsidiaries of Mitsubishi Corporation, acquired the Greater Dunlin Area Producing Fields from subsidiaries of Shell, ExxonMobil, Statoil and OMV.

Since the acquisition of the assets, Fairfield’s focus has been to establish a track record of safe, reliable and predictable operations. This has entailed significant investment in basic fabric maintenance but also in platform equipment such as the drilling rig, power generation equipment and support equipment such as fire and gas and emergency response systems. A substantial amount of work has also been done to ensure both platform and subsea wells and subsea infrastructure integrity will support incident free operations for the rest of the Greater Dunlin Area’s producing life.

2012 marked the completion of the Dunlin fuel gas import project providing the Dunlin platform with the capacity to import its own fuel gas and generate its own power for water injection, complementing the direct import of power from Brent Charlie.  In addition other sources of imported fuel gas are being sought to ensure there is sufficient redundancy in the power generation/water injection system. The link below to the Dunlin Alpha Helicopter Flare Access & Flare Tip Installation DVD will illustrate some of the work done during this period of significant investment.

There has since been further investment in a major improvement programme nearing completion on critical water injection systems. Of note was the completion of the Osprey Subsea intervention campaign in summer 2013 which allowed Osprey production to restart following a one year temporary shut-in. In addition electric submersible pumps have been installed in a small, highly depleted area of the Dunlin main field, providing significant production from an area not produced for over 20 years. The Dunlin cluster is now capable of producing in excess of 10,000bopd.

A 3D seismic survey was commissioned in 2012 to support the ongoing subsurface work which is being undertaken to identify and evaluate new drilling opportunities on the platform and near-field opportunities which could be developed as subsea tie-backs to Dunlin. Seismic data interpretation and appraisal well planning are currently being undertaken for the area West of Dunlin, with the potential for a separate semi-submersible drilling campaign.

With large remaining reserves across existing reservoirs, improving operational efficiency and deferring the decommissioning of the Dunlin Cluster are key strategic objectives for Fairfield. Crucially, the existing Osprey production system requires upgrading and a redevelopment programme is scheduled for 2015/16 with production recommencing 2017.  

To realise its objectives and to ensure that the necessary organisational structure, capabilities and capacity are in place to accommodate growth in the North Sea, Fairfield recently completed the process of assuming full duty holder responsibility for the Dunlin platform. This is expected to enable Fairfield to engage more fully in the operational planning as well as the day to day management of the Dunlin assets.

Exploration History

The Dunlin field straddles Blocks 211/23a and 211/24a. Block 211/23a was awarded to Shell UK and Esso Exploration and Production UK Limited (‘‘Esso’’) in 1972, and Block 211/24a was awarded to a ConocoPhillips Company (‘‘Conoco’’)-led consortium in 1970. Dunlin was discovered by Shell UK with well 211/23a-1 in 1973, its eastward extension into 211/24 being confirmed by Conoco late in 1973. Production from the field commenced in 1978.

The Dunlin SW field was discovered in 1973 with the 211/23a-2 well, but was not brought on to production until 1996 when an extended reach well was drilled from the Dunlin Platform. A second infill well was drilled in 1998. Both wells are currently producing. The field receives pressure support from distal Dunlin field injection wells.

The Osprey field, eight kilometres to the northwest of Dunlin, was discovered with appraisal well 211/23a-3 in 1974. The discovery has been developed as a subsea tie-back to Dunlin with first production in January 1991.

The Merlin field was discovered by the first side-track of exploration well 211/23a-13 in February 1997. Following development approval in August 1997, the field commenced production in November 1997 as a subsea tie-back to Dunlin. Subsequent development in 1999 saw the installation of water injection, along with a second production well. A third production well was drilled in 2001.


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Before decommissioning its fields, Fairfield will consult pro-actively with a wide range of stakeholders.
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