The development of Johan Sverdrup will be big. Its field centre will comprise four bridge linked platforms, including living quarters for up to 450 people, a well-head platform with between 40 and 50 slots for production and injection wells, a production platform with a design capacity for 315,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day (boepd) and an export/utility platform. This was mapped out in the recent concept decision for the first phase. The investment for this phase alone is expected to be between NOK 100 -120 billion (USD 16.5 - 19.5 billion).


“We believe that this concept is a good foundation for realising the full potential of the field. This is Maersk Oil’s primary focus, as it will bring most value to all partners involved in the project and Norwegian society more broadly,” said Morten Jeppesen, Managing Director of Maersk Oil Norway.


First oil from Johan Sverdrup is expected in late 2019, with a capacity for the first phase of 315,000 boepd. Forecast of full-field plateau production of between 550,000 to 650,000 boepd is expected.


Maersk Oil has a project team of some 20 full-time staff based both in Stavanger and Copenhagen, working on the best way to unlock the potential from the full field both now and in the future. This is a large team considering that Maersk Oil is not operating the field. "In addition to working towards an optimum development solution, part of this team is dedicated to unitisation and commercial decisions. This is the process by which the field is unified across the different production licences it straddles. Given that Johan Sverdrup covers an area similar to Danish Underground Consortium’s contiguous area in Denmark, securing an equitable share is very important to Maersk Oil," says Jeppesen.



The five Johan Sverdrup partner companies represent the three Nordic countries; Lundin from Sweden; Petoro, Statoil and Det Norske from Norway; and Maersk Oil from Denmark. The companies have all contributed to the field concept in different ways.


“Maersk Oil is a strong technical company and many of our past successes have been built on our ability to apply technical solutions to unlock the potential of challenging fields. The challenge of Johan Sverdrup is not so much its reservoir complexities, but its sheer size," says Mark Seger, Maersk Oil’s Project Manager for the Johan Sverdrup Project.


Phase 1 production will be equivalent to Maersk Oil’s total production in Denmark when it peaked at 310,000 boepd in 2005. It will be potentially double that when the full field plateau is reached.


All production will be processed at a single field centre, an idea that originates from Maersk Oil and illustrates how abilities we’ve learned in the past are helping us to optimise development now.


“It is of course amazing to be part of such a giant project and we feel a large responsibility to choose the best possible concept for the full field. Aside from the working operator, Statoil, Maersk Oil is the only partner company that has experience with operating large, phased field developments. We have contributed to the concept with our experience and capabilities from full-field developments in Denmark, Qatar and the UK,” Seger says.



Today around 10% of Maersk Oil’s production comes from assets operated by others (OBO). The Polvo field in Brazil, operated by the Brazilian company, HRT, contributed with 5,000 boepd in 2013 and the Algerian fields, including the newest field on stream, El Merk, contributed with 28,000 boepd of Maersk Oil’s overall daily production.


With several significant OBO projects in the portfolio including Johan Sverdrup, the share of OBO production is expected to increase. Already by the end of 2014, Maersk Oil expects to have two additional OBO fields boosting the daily production in 2014, Jack in the Gulf of Mexico and Golden Eagle in the UK.


“OBO assets are a key part of our project portfolio and just as important as our operated assets. The barrels contribute equally to the value generated for Maersk Oil and the Group,” says Head of Corporate Technology and Projects, Troels Albrechtsen.


“Being in an OBO joint venture doesn’t mean that you should just observe what the operator is doing. You too have a responsibility to contribute where you can add value. You must act if you see anything that compromises safety or other relevant aspects of a development, not least in Norway, where this is an explicit obligation of any joint venture company,” he says.


Being a partner is valuable for Maersk Oil, particularly when it can learn from the operator.


“We can see that the Johan Sverdrup project has benefited both from our subsurface expertise and from our expertise in previous large-field development plans; we can learn from operators with experience elsewhere in the world. An example of this is in the Gulf of Mexico, where Maersk Oil has gained knowledge from Chevron, one of the most experienced deep-water operators. This is a natural and important part of knowledge sharing in the oil industry,” says Albrechtsen.

Johan Sverdrup core oil

Johan Sverdrup development plan