Hurricane Energy has completed the offshore installation phase for the early production system (EPS) for its huge Lancaster field.
Analysts have estimated the Greater Lancaster Area west of Shetland could hold as much as a billion barrels of oil, making it the biggest North Sea find since Buzzard in 2001.
The installation of subsea umbilical, risers and flowlines (SURF) has been completed, marking the end of the offshore installation phase.
The final activity at the field will be a programme of protective rock dumping, scheduled for October.
Hurricane is developing the EPS to make an informed decision on a full field development.
The next step is the arrival of the Aoka Mizu FPSO at the field.
Work on the vessel in Dubai is in its “final stages”, with sea trials to take place by the end of the month, with sailaway “shortly thereafter”.
First oil from Lancaster is targeted for the first half of next year.
CEO Robert Trice said: “I’m pleased to report successful completion of subsea installation, the final element of the installation campaign scheduled for the 2018 summer weather window.
“The required infrastructure is now in place for the Aoka Mizu FPSO to hook-up and commence commissioning upon arrival. I look forward to first oil in 1H 2019.”
Earlier this month Hurricane sold 50% of its Lincoln and Warwick licenses to Spirit Energy.
Spirit will initially cover the cost of a £139 million campaign to drill three wells to further prove up the potential of an area which holds an estimated two billion barrels of oil.
Hurricane said the deal would free up cash for the Lancaster field for appraisal and development of the rest of its portfolio.