50 years of accomplishments in the north sea

February 19, 2015 – Over half a century ago, on December 26, 1964, Chevron's joint venture operator Amoseas (American Overseas Petroleum Ltd.) drilled the first North Sea well, 165 miles offshore the United Kingdom. Though it was dry, the well broke new ground in offshore operations, proving the capability of drilling year-round in the North Sea's harsh environment.

Chevron's Mr. Cap rig drilled first well in the North Sea in December 1964.

The Mr. Cap rig drilled the first well in the North Sea in December 1964. It was the farthest offshore operation yet attempted and established the feasibility of year-round drilling in the area.

Two years later, Amoseas made its first discovery, when its offshore rig, Endeavour, struck gas on Block 48/7. Since that discovery, Chevron has continued to develop the oil and gas resources under the U.K. North Sea.

Ninian, discovered in 1974, would set a new standard for massive. At the time of construction, the Ninian Central Platform, the giant of the field's three platforms, was the largest man-made object ever moved. Ninian went on to produce its billionth barrel of oil in 1996.

Aided by 4-D seismic surveying, the Alba heavy oil field was one of the first shallow Eocene reservoirs successfully developed in the North Sea. Gulf Oil discovered Alba in 1984, just before merging with Chevron.

One year later, Highlander came onstream, establishing Chevron as the leader in remote subsea tieback technology. Production utilized a subsea processing system called a "slugcatcher" that separated fluids and gas at the base of the nearby Tartan platform.

Another industry first was the use of downhole pumps at the heavy- oil, low-pressure Captain Field. Advances in horizontal drilling and downhole pumps in well bores enabled Texaco to develop the field in 1997, some 20 years after its discovery. Texaco merged with Chevron in 2001.

The Britannia Field was the largest natural gas and condensate field in the North Sea when it was discovered in 1975. After achieving production in 1998, it produced enough gas to meet at least 8 percent of the U.K.'s energy needs.

Chevron U.K. continues to apply pioneering technologies to discover and produce energy resources in the North Sea. Currently, the high-pressure, high-temperature Alder Field comprises one of the most complex wells drilled in the North Sea. The Rosebank Field has the potential to unlock a region holding a significant portion of the U.K.'s developed oil and gas resources. And at Captain, Chevron is working with partners to deploy a new polymer injection technology to maximize oil recovery.

Updated: February 2015