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By John Acher
OSLO, Jan 9 (Reuters) - Canada’s Talisman Energy TLM.TO and its partners aim to reopen the dormant Yme oilfield in the Norwegian North Sea — the first time that an abandoned field has been restarted off Norway, officials said.
Norway, the world’s third-biggest oil exporter after Saudi Arabia and Russia, has seen oil production decline at ageing North Sea fields. To counter that it has encouraged smaller independent companies in its waters.
“First production is planned for January 2009,” Norwegian independent Pertra PERTRA.OL, Talisman’s partner in the field, said in a statement on Tuesday.
“The expected maximum production for the Yme field is 40,000 barrels of oil per day,” Pertra said, adding that the field is expected to produce 50-60 million barrels of crude, depending on future oil prices.
Situated in the Egersund Basin 160 km (99 miles) northeast of the Ekofisk field, Yme was discovered in 1986 and produced about 50 million barrels under Statoil’s operatorship from 1996 until it was abandoned in 2001 during a period of low oil prices, Pertra said.
But less than 20 percent of the reserves in place had been exploited when the field was shut, the company said.
“Investment cost estimates are in excess of 4 billion Norwegian crowns ($629.5 million),” Pertra said.
Talisman Energy Norge AS is operator and has a 70 percent interest. Norwegian independent producer Revus Energy REVUS.OL has 20 percent in the licence granted in 2004.
The partners in production licence 316 submitted a plan for development and operation (PDO) for Yme to Norway’s Ministry of Petroleum and Energy on Monday, Pertra said.
Drilling of production wells will begin in mid-2008 using Danish A.P. Moeller-Maersk’s (MAERSKb.CO) Maersk Giant rig, the company said.
The partners established operations on the Norwegian continental shelf after an initiative launched by Norway’s authorities in 2000 to boost the diversity of participants there, Pertra said.
“The planned redevelopment of additional reserves from the Yme field demonstrates that the new oil companies on the Norwegian shelf area already making significant contributions to Norway’s total petroleum economy,” Pertra Chief Executive Erik Haugane said in the statement.
Oil and Energy Minister Odd Roger Enoksen said in a statement: “This illustrates that it is very important to have diversity on the Norwegian shelf.”
The Yme PDO is expected to be considered by the government in February-March 2007, the oil and energy ministry said.