the captain field

captain platform at night

The Captain Field lies approximately 90 miles (145 km) north-east of Aberdeen, Scotland, in the Outer Moray Firth, in water depths of roughly 346 feet (105.5 m).

Discovered in 1977 in Block 13/22a, the Captain Field achieved first production in March 1997, thanks to key technology developments in horizontal drilling and down-hole pumps in well bores.

The field currently includes a wellhead protector platform and bridge linked platform connected to a floating production, storage and offloading (FPSO) vessel and two subsea manifolds tied back and connected to the platforms by a suite of pipelines.

Captain crude oil is offloaded from the FPSO vessel to a dynamically positioned shuttle tanker and taken either directly to customers or to the Nigg Bay terminal. Captain gas is exported and imported via subsea pipeline to the Frigg U.K. Gas Transportation System and then on to St Fergus gas terminal.

Chevron continues to implement projects to sustain production and increase recovery at Captain.

In 2016, daily production averaged 24,000 barrels of liquids and 3 million cubic feet of natural gas.

Chevron continues to implement projects designed to sustain production and increase recovery at Captain. This includes active platform and subsea well in-fill drilling and completion programmes targeting key areas of the reservoir. Continued development drilling is expected through the next decade.

the next phase of development

A key project designed to increase recovery at the field is the recently sanctioned Captain Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR) Project. As the most advanced polymerised water injection project in the U.K. North Sea, Chevron is using this innovative EOR technology to breathe new life into the billion barrel field.

“Sanctioning the first phase of this project is an important milestone for the business unit and the development of this innovative technology”

Greta Lydecker

Chevron Upstream Europe managing director

a phased approach

In the U.K., Chevron has been trialing polymer EOR at Captain since 2010 to assess its potential and develop the best approach to any future deployment. This approach has enabled Chevron fine-tune plans to progress the project.

The brownfield expansion will be centered on the existing Captain infrastructure, located in a segment of the field supported by the existing platforms, known as Area A. The scope includes polymer injection in up to six long-reach horizontal wells, several brownfield work scopes, and the bulk provision of polymer designed for the specific reservoir conditions at Captain.

Learnings from the first stage will be used to inform any future decisions for stage two of the project, which would involve EOR expansion into the subsea areas of the field.

pioneering technology

For many years, the Captain Field has been under waterflood, meaning a lot of effort has been focused on water production and treatment. However, with bypassed oil remaining in place due to the way waterflood results in a “coning” effect in the reservoir, EOR presents an opportunity to unlock significant potential by reducing the mobility contrast between the polymerised water and viscous oil.

how polymer works

how polymer works

Learn more about how Chevron uses polymers to create a better waterflood, thicken water and more efficiently push oil through reservoirs.

Chevron Upstream Europe worked closely with Chevron’s Energy Technology Centre (ETC) EOR group to test various polymers at the Briarpark laboratories in Houston. A series of pilots demonstrated that Captain’s reservoir conditions – pressure, temperature, type of rock and oil properties – were right for polymer EOR.

maximising economic recovery

Captain EOR is a prime example of how Chevron is using technology to help increase the economic viability of smaller and more complex fields, develop more cost-effective solutions and better use data to drive improved decision making.

Early estimates point toward an improved recovery factor of between five and seven percent, supporting our strategy of extracting value from our existing asset base, and the U.K. Government’s pursuit of maximising the economic recovery of its offshore energy resources.

Chevron, as part of an industry-led EOR taskforce, along with BP, Shell and Statoil, has been a driving force behind the development of the Oil & Gas Authority’s Polymer Enhanced Oil Recovery – Industry Lessons Learned publication.

Captain is operated by Chevron North Sea Limited (85 percent); Dana Petroleum (E&P) Ltd holds a 15 percent non-operated working interest in the field.