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Four years on: production resumes at BP North Sea Oil site

Production has resumed at a £4.4 billion BP project in the North Sea, following four years of work to modernise the site.

BP operations in the Schiehallion area west of the Shetland Islands had been on hold since 2013, according to the Financial Times. BP and its partners, including Royal Dutch Shell, needed to carry out substantial modifications to the site in order to restore its previous capacity.

Chief executive of BP, Bob Dudley, told the Financial Times that the project, called Quad 04, was one of the largest recent investments in the UK. It is the third of seven large upstream projects BP expects to start this year around the world.

The oilfield around Schiehallion was first developed in the mid-1990s. It is now hoped that the redevelopments will extend the field’s life until at least 2035, potentially unlocking an extra 450 million barrels of oil. The project will also help BP double its current production in the North Sea.

According to the Financial Times article, despite global energy companies selling their assets in the North Sea basin, the area west of the Shetland Islands is seen by many as the “final frontier” of the North Sea, an area where large oil deposit discoveries are still possible.

The modernisation project has involved commissioning and installing a new production vessel capable of withstanding harsh weather conditions, replacing subsea infrastructure and drilling new wells. As a result, production from the Schiehallion area is expected to increase by 130,000 barrels this year.