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Preparing for Maria Modifications on Kristin & Heidrun

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The Maria Field

The Maria field is Wintershall’s flagship development in Norway and has been an essential part of the plan to become one of the leading operators in the country. The field is located in the Haltenbanken area of the southern Norwegian Sea, some 200 kilometers from the mainland. 

Discovered in 2010, the field was one of Wintershall's first exploration successes in Norway. The project is now in the execution phase and is being developed for production in 2018. The field will be developed with two subsea templates at 300 meter water depth from where the reservoir will be linked to four existing hosts via a subsea tieback. 

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News on Maria

Get to know Maria

Maria is a subsea field, producing hydrocarbons via underwater templates that link back to existing pipelines and platforms in the area. The two subsea templates were installed on the seabed in May 2016. The structures named Maria H and Maria G are 3 kilometers apart, and will be connected to the nearby existing infrastructure with 94 kilometers of pipeline. The templates weigh around 285 tonnes each and are each the size of a basketball field. Maria is primarily an oilfield with some gas and condensate.

Innovative development solution

The Maria reservoir will be linked via the two subsea templates to the Kristin, Heidrun and Åsgard B production platforms. The Maria well stream will go to the Kristin platform for processing while supply of water for injection into the reservoir will come from the Heidrun platform and lift gas will be provided from Åsgard B via the Tyrihans D subsea template. Processed oil will be shipped to the Åsgard field for storage and offloading to shuttle tankers. Gas will be exported via the Åsgard Transport System to Kårstø.

1. Host installations

A combination of hosts is required to provide all the services needed to produce the field. The water for injection into the reservoir is provided by the Heidrun platform about 40 kilometers North of Maria while the produced oil is processed on the Kristin platform. Gas for the gas lift is provided by the Åsgard B platform, via the subsea facilities at the Tyrihans D subsea template.

2. Pipelines

Production flowlines connect the two templates and send hydrocarbons to Kristin for processing. Water for injection into the reservoir is provided via a dedicated pipeline from the Heidrun platform about 40 kilometers north of the Maria field. Flexible risers connect the pipelines via riser bases on the seabed to the Kristin and Heidrun facilities. The risers are supported by buoyancy elements that provide additional flexibility when the facilities are moving in the sea.

3. Subsea production system

The subsea production system consists of two 4-slot templates. The combined production and water injection templates each have two production wells and one water injection well with one spare slot each that can be used later in the field life if required. The system also includes the control umbilicals and control pods that make it possible to send signals to and from the Kristin platform and the subsea templates.

4. Export

The export system consists of two main elements: oil export and gas export. The oil export will take place by transferring the processed oil via a flexible riser and a pipeline to the Åsgard C FSU (Floating Storage Unit) where it will be offloaded with a shuttle tanker. The gas export system consists of a flexible riser and a pipeline tied into the Åsgard Transport gas line to Kårstø.

The reservoir

The reservoir in the Maria field is the Middle Jurassic Garn Formation. It is a well-defined horst block structure with moderate reservoir quality. Maria’s 4 slot subsea templates will each have two oil production wells that will drill approximately 4,500 meters below the seabed before stretching 2,000 meters horizontally into the reservoir. Wintershall will use water injection from another well on each template to pressure-support the field, pumping water into the zone below the oil to help push the hydrocarbons up towards the producers.

Project history & timeline

Wintershall as the operator in cooperation with the other license partners Petoro and Centrica decided on a preferred development solution for Maria in 2011. This was the first of four so-called decision gates that are part of the Norwegian authorities’ guidelines to be approved for development and operation of an oil field. The partnership submitted their application in the spring of 2015 and received approval by the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy in September 2015. The approved concept was to connect the reservoir to the already existing, closely located infrastructure via a subsea tieback.

Read more about decision gates below.

What is a decision gate? Click to expand

DG1 – Concretisation decision

Passing Decision Gate 1 (DG1) means the partners in a license must agree on at least one economical development solution and inform Norwegian authorities of their intention to continue with the project. Following feasibility studies for Maria, Wintershall and its partners agreed that both a subsea tieback to nearby host platforms and a stand-alone development using an FPSO could form the basis for further studies.

Maria passed DG1 in July 2011

DG2 – Decision to continue

This is the Select Phase, when the partners must narrow the project outlines to a single concept and submit the BOV Report (Decision to Continue) to the Norwegian authorities. After additional studies, it became clear that the most economical solution for Maria would involve a subsea tieback to multiple host facilities on Haltenbanken.

Maria passed DG2 in 2013

DG3 – Decision to implement

This is the decision to commit to financing the project. It follows further refinement of the chosen concept through front end engineering and development (FEED) and the establishment of robust cost and schedule estimates. These are included in a Plan for Development and Operation, which is submitted to Norwegian authorities.  Once the PDO is approved, the Execution Phase of the project can start.

Maria passed DG3 and submitted the PDO in May 2015. The PDO was approved in September 2015.

DG4 – Start production

This is the start of production.

First oil on Maria is planned for 2018

Host modifications

Modifications are required on the Statoil-operated Kristin platform to enable operation of the Maria field. By the end of summer 2016, two risers and most equipment linking Kristin to the subsea installation and wells will be installed to facilitate transfer of hydrocarbons, and control of Maria’s subsea and well instrumentation. A final riser, a meter to measure the oil and gas produced by Maria and a subsea control unit will be installed in 2017. On Heidrun, a balcony has been constructed to accommodate a new water injection riser which will be installed by end of summer 2016. In 2017 the existing injection system will be upgraded with a new sulphate reduction module.



Project milestones

Contracts & deliveries

While the main contracts for construction of the Maria field are being completed in yards in Norway, the components for the subsea production system, including templates, manifolds and Christmas trees are being supplied by different vendors throughout the country and around the world. The templates were assembled in a factory in Tønsberg. The pipelines that will link the templates to the host fields are being fabricated in 1500 meter lengths in a factory in Ålesund and will be welded together as they are spooled onto 50 meter drums ready for installation on the ocean floor. Contracts have been awarded to contractors and subcontractors in three continents.

Preparing the ground

Wintershall is laying 114 kilometer of pipelines and umbilicals on the Norwegian ocean seabed, weaving around precious corals to tie the subsea production system to Maria’s host facilities. Surveys have been carried out to determine the safest route, and thousands of tonnes of rock have been laid to prepare the seabed for installation of some pipelines. Long trenches are being dug to house some of the other pipelines, and vessels are being prepared to bury them under rock so that fishermen can continue to trawl the sea above.

Template & pipeline installation

The two subsea templates were installed on the seabed some 300 meters below the ocean surface in May 2016. A 26 kilometer production pipeline is being built to transport oil and gas from the templates to Kristin. Running alongside this pipeline is a control umbilical that will allow Kristin to control the Maria valves. A 43 kilometer pipeline will provide water from Heidrun for injection into the Maria reservoir, while a 19 kilometer pipeline will bring lift gas from Tyrihans D.


In March 2017, the rig Deepsea Stavanger will begin drilling and completing the Maria wells on the two subsea templates in the Halten Terrace area of the Norwegian Sea. Over the course of an estimated 570 days, the rig will drill and complete two production wells and one water injection well on each template. The production wells will produce the oil and gas while the water injector will help keep the oil pressed up towards the surface. Each production well will take a total of around 110 days, with a total length up to 6500 meters. The wells will be drilled horizontally for up to 2000 meters through the reservoir zones. The wells will then be equipped with production equipment and be prepared for the production of the hydrocarbons to Kristin.

Production & operation

The Maria field is planned for production in late 2018. Wintershall is operator of the field but day to day operation will be handled by Statoil. The Norwegian company operates all four of Maria’s host fields making it the ideal service partner. Wintershall’s single point of contact for operation is Statoil’s Stjørdal office near Trondheim. This is the office that manages the Kristin platform, which is the host that both controls the valves in the Maria templates, and receives the hydrocarbons that flow from the reservoir. From there, Statoil can also co-ordinate water injection from Heidrun and the lift gas that travels from Åsgard to Maria via Tyrihans.

Health, Safety & Environment

Wherever we operate in the world, nothing is more important than our health, safety and environmental obligations.

May Kristin Sviland, HSE Manager

Wherever we operate in the world, nothing is more important than our health, safety and environmental obligations.

May Kristin Sviland, HSE Manager

Wintershall works hard to safeguard the health and safety of our colleagues on the Maria development and ensure the high quality of the work on the project. Working closely with our contractors, we solve HSE challenges through extensive follow up activities including audits and inspections, which protect our people, assets and the environment.

The HSE team is carrying out an update of our Quantitative Risk Analysis identifying the factors that could affect the project now and in the future. Our main goal is to prevent accidents that could put our colleagues or the environment at risk. We do this by putting barriers in place to prevent incidents as well as barriers to minimise the impact if an accident does occur.

We also work proactively to protect what is important. When Wintershall identified a valuable deepwater eco-system on the seafloor around Maria, we moved quickly to preserve it. Extensive rerouting of the Maria pipelines will now conserve precious deep water sponges and cold water corals which will continue to contribute towards the area’s unique marine biodiversity.

People on the team

Hugo Dijkgraaf
Project Director
Dennis Dickhausen
Teamleader Subsea Engineering
Nicolas Pringault
Teamleader Topsides Engineering
May Kristin Sviland
HSE Manager, Maria Project
Jens Balmer
Project Manager Facilities
Joseph Dowley
Subsurface Manager
Grethe Ledsaak
Production Technologist
Nils Petter Norheim
Drilling & Wells Superintendent
Eva Malmanger
Operations Manager

By moving ahead with Maria, even in a challenging oil price environment, we are demonstrating our commitment to Norway and showing yet again that we are making things happen.

Hugo Dijkgraaf, Maria Project Director