U.S. oil major Chevron (CVX) has approved an investment to increase output from its Captain oilfield by using a new water-injection technology for the first time in the North Sea, the company said on Friday.
Six long-reach horizontal wells will be drilled in the 20-year-old field, around 90 miles northeast of Aberdeen. They are expected to raise the recovery rate 5 to 7 percent.
Polymerised water will be injected into the field's oil reservoir, a new technique to tap oil reserves that are hard to reach with conventional drilling methods. It will be the first time the technology has been applied on this scale in the North Sea.
The polymer injection wells will come on stream from 2018 to 2021, a spokeswoman said. She declined to disclose how much they would cost.
Approving the investment for the first phase of project "is an important milestone in the development of the technology, which we believe will improve the recovery rate from older fields and help extend the life of assets," said Greta Lydecker, managing director of Chevron's European upstream division.
Chevron is the operator of the field and owns 85 percent of it. Dana Petroleum holds a 15 percent stake.
Oil and gas output from Britain's part of the North Sea has dropped since the turn of the century as old fields are depleted and investment in new projects dwindles.
However, some oil companies, like Chevron, are investing in new technologies to reach resources that were previously unavailable, helping British oil and gas production to rise slightly over the past two years.
Reporting by Karolin Schaps