Culzean: a large gas project in the North Sea

Production type: gas condensate
Operator: Total (49.99%)
Partners: BP (32%), JX Nippon (18.01%)
Start of production: June 2019
Country: United Kingdom

5 %
of the United Kingdom’s gas demand to be met by Culzean
The Culzean project in the British North Sea Le projet Culzean en mer du Nord britannique

Culzean is a gas condensate field located in the North Sea, 230 kilometers off the coast of Aberdeen. It was discovered in 2008 in an area that had been left unexplored for a long time. The field is made up of two deep reservoirs, with reserves estimated at between 250 million and 300 million barrels of oil equivalent, making it the largest gas project developed in the United Kingdom in the last 25 years.  

The largest North Sea gas project in a quarter of a century

Culzean is a high-pressure, high-temperature (HPHT) gas condensate field located in Block 22/25a in the East Central Graben area of the central North Sea. It is made up of two deep reservoirs 4,300 meters below sea level, with reserves estimated at between 250 million and 300 million barrels of oil equivalent. Production started in June 2019 and should meet 5% of the United Kingdom’s gas demand, bringing to 18% the proportion of the country’s gas demand supplied by Total.

The depth and size of the reservoirs require a unique approach to production. For this reason, the Culzean project will have three platforms, linked together with bridges. The first platform will be used for drilling and hydrocarbon production, the second for processing and export of produced gas and condensate, and the last for the crew’s living quarters. The project will also include a floating storage and offloading (FSO) vessel measuring 52 meters at its highest point and 243 meters in length – the equivalent of three Airbus A380s, the biggest airplane in the world. Called the Ailsa, the FSO can store up to 430,000 barrels of oil equivalent of condensate.

Since taking operatorship of the Culzean project following the acquisition of Maersk Oil in  2018, we have worked alongside our partners to perfect our technologies and operating methods at each stage of development. For example, we have implemented more efficient drilling techniques, allowing us to reach depths of up to 5,000 meters. We have also optimized the supply chain. These efforts helped reduce costs by $500 million, or about 10% of the initial estimated budget.

~ 300
million barrels of reserves
5 %
of the United Kingdom’s gas demand met by Culzean
depth* of the reservoirs
* in meters
Culzean, an unprecedented offshore gas field project in the UK
The North Sea, a cornerstone of Total’s strategy
Map of the production hubs in the British North Sea
Carte des hubs de production en mer du Nord britannique

From Glendronach to Tyra, Laggan-Tormore to Johan Sverdrup, we are developing more and more projects in the North Sea, a very promising area with an important role to play in Total’s strategy. The Group has been active in the United Kingdom since 1965 and Culzean is helping strengthen this position. By building on existing infrastructure, we are creating invaluable hubs in the British North Sea, enabling us to increase our production capacity and thereby meet growing energy demand.