Oil & Gas

Shell kicks off drilling at Jackdaw field

Shell (LON: SHEL) has commenced drilling at its 100% owned Jackdaw field in the Central North Sea with the Valaris 122 jack-up rig.

The duration of drilling completion activities is set to span approximately 538 days.

There are set to be four wells drilled through the newly installed Jackdaw platform as part of the project.

Shell expects Jackdaw, which is located about 155 miles east of Aberdeen, to begin producing around the middle of this decade.

The field will be made up of a wellhead platform, along with subsea infrastructure tied back to the existing Shearwater production hub.

At peak production rates, Jackdaw is estimated to yield 40,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day and could account for over 6% of projected UK North Sea gas production.

Spending £500 million in the UK

Shell is on record as saying it will spend £500 million in the UK in order to deliver the project, estimated to start-up in 2025.

Just over a year ago, Aker Solutions was awarded a contract for the engineering, procurement, construction and installation of the Jackdaw platform.

It expects to deliver the first part of the work – the steel substructure, complete with pre-drilling – to Shell in 2023.

The topside will follow in 2024, with fabrication taking place at Aker Solutions’ yard in Verdal, Norway – at its peak the project will employ over 300 people.

Approval and protest

Last year the UK regulatory bodies gave Shell approval for the development of the Jackdaw gas field.

Both the North Sea Transition Authority (NSTA) and the Offshore Petroleum Regulator for Environment & Decommissioning (OPRED) gave the green light to the project in June 2022.

On the build-up to and following its approval, Jackdaw has seen opposition from climate activists.

Following the project getting the green light, Greenpeace launched a legal challenge against the UK Government and various other protests against the project have taken place since.

However, in March Shell said that “there is a relatively low risk of disruption” to the North Sea gas project.

That is both “in terms of delays” to Jackdaw, as well as changes to the scheme itself.

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