OKEA is now making every effort to start production from Hasselmus during 2023. This means that a plan for development and operation (PDO) must be submitted during the next year. At the same time, the work aimed at establishing power supply from shore is being stepped up. This is on the premise that both projects are profitable.
Knut Gjertsen joined OKEA as SVP Project and Technology on 1 April. It was no laughing matter: the oil price plummeted, Norway was shut down due to the coronavirus, OKEA’s share price fell and projects were put on ice. Now, the situation has changed. The oil price has increased considerably and a package of measures to support the oil and gas industry has been approved, facilitating investments efforts going forward. At the top of OKEA’s list is the development of Hasselmus, a project worth approximately NOK 2 billion. Hasselmus is a gas discovery made 20 years ago that will now contribute to increased production via Draugen.
“Without the package of measures pertaining to the taxation system that has been approved, no projects relating to Hasselmus would have been initiated now. We are currently working intensely with this, but today’s low gas prices pose a challenge. I nevertheless believe that we will succeed in creating a good and profitable project, even though everything is not yet in place. We are turning every stone to start producing in 2023. This is a project that is important to Draugen and to OKEA as operator. It will be our journeyman’s final exam as operator of a field development.”
On Hasselmus, a well that is to be hooked up to a pipeline transporting the gas to the Draugen platform will be drilled. Hasselmus is located seven kilometres northwest of Draugen. The reservoir contains gas in sandstone of early Jurassic age in the Ile and Ror formations. Converted, this amounts to approximately 12 million barrels of oil equivalent.
Knut Gjertsen stresses that what matters most, however, is that operations are carried out in a manner ensuring that people will always return home safe and sound. He emphasizes that Draugen is the foundation and supporting beam in OKEA, but that the company has to continue to develop.
«Our strategy calls for our own good, profitable projects as operator. It is my main task, together with the rest of the company, to initiate and drive these projects. It was challenging to join OKEA in the midst of a crisis affecting the nation and the industry. Nevertheless, I never looked back. There was much to be done to ensure that this project portfolio, on which we as a company totally depend, be made a reality.
Power from shore
OKEA has been working with plans for power from shore to Draugen for a long period, preferably with the platform serving as a hub in the Haltenbanken area. Various opportunities in the area, which also includes Njord, are being explored together with Equinor. Different opportunities relating to both development solutions and economics are under consideration. Furthermore, OKEA is involved in efforts pertaining to capture of CO2 using amine-based technologies. The company aims to clarify the best technological and commercial solution during the autumn.
“It is important to me that the CO2 emissions in our industry be reduced. We will contribute to achieving the national goals determined by the authorities. This is a task that I take seriously. In order to succeed, we are totally reliant on good dialogue with the authorities. As I see it, if investments are to be profitable, the authorities must contribute.”
Yme and P1
Gjertsen is looking forward to start-up of production on Yme – probably during the first six months of 2021. This is a project where OKEA was the first to identify the opportunities after the last development project failed. Despite the coronavirus crisis, activities in the modification project at the Aker Solutions yard in Egersund are proceeding at full speed. Approximately 150 persons are engaged, and progress is steady.
«I am looking forward to seeing the platform in place during the year. Of course, it is regrettable that a number of factors have contributed to delays; this is often the case with such large and complicated modifications. We are optimists and believe that this will be a very good project for the company.”
During the summer, two wells will also be drilled on Gjøa P1, with the goal of starting production before the end of the year. Gjertsen thinks that the gas prices will increase from today’s very low levels.
Knut Gjertsen opines that he has come home to Trøndelag after he joined OKEA. For the last 23 years, he has been living on a large farm in Selbu that is run by his wife. There, most of his leisure time is spent working as a farmhand.
He met his wife, Listbeth Norbye, when he was a student at NTNU (previously NTH), where he studied civil engineering. Curiosity and studies brought him to both Aachen as well as to Colorado. He has moved and commuted a lot, with long periods in both Stavanger and Oslo. Born in the capital, he spent most of his childhood and youth in Voss. This contributed to his becoming a keen alpine skier, specializing in giant slalom. In Selbu, he has become involved in orienteering.
«It is alpine skiing that has been my form of sport. I was performing well but harboured no ambitions to become an alpine skier competing at the national level. Orienteering has always been a favourite of mine, and my engagement constitutes part of the voluntary work one should contribute to the local community.
Proud of the industry
Knut Gjertsen has held several positions in various companies. In 1997, he joined Equinor and was based in Stjørdal, not that far from Selbu. Before joining OKEA, he held the position as Project Director for the Johan Castberg project, and prior to that it was the Snøhvit LNG project on Melkøya Island/Hammerfest. Two projects that he speaks of with enthusiasm, despite considerable challenges.
«I guess that both giant slalom and orienteering are essential in your job, maybe particularly when things start sliding down somewhat slippery slopes. Was it your competitive streak that brought you to OKEA?»
«I have changed jobs frequently, and now found myself at the end of a cycle on Castberg. Accordingly, I had to decide “what to do as a grown-up” (60 years old). When this opportunity turned up, I had no doubts. OKEA is an attractive small company with clearly stated ambitions where I can have a considerable impact on important decision-making processes. It is a ground-breaking and innovative company. I must confess that it also mattered to me that the company is located in Trøndelag – it also represented an opportunity for me to really “come home”.
«You have chosen an industry which often faces a lot of public headwind?”
«I am proud of working in an industry that supplies the world with the energy it needs to lift people out of poverty. We are all concerned about the climate and environmental issues, but the more extreme voices who want to phase out the Norwegian oil and gas industry are opting for too simple answers to very complicated issues. It is possible to produce oil and gas and at the same time invest efforts into reducing greenhouse emissions. My task, and that of OKEA, is to run a profitable operation while simultaneously reducing our ecological footprint as much as possible.”Subscribe