Total produces first gas at massive North Sea field

French oil major Total has cemented its position as the UK’s top gas producer after bringing online the Culzean field in the North Sea ahead of time and under budget.

The Culzean field, operated by Total with a 49.99% interest along with BP and JX Nippon, became the largest UK gas find in 25 years when it was discovered in 1991.

The field contains 1.4 trillion cubic feet (tcf) of gas and could supply up to 10% of the UK’s gas demand at the height of its production.

Total took over the huge project following its £5.8 billion acquisition of Danish firm Maersk Oil last year and has since invested around £3.5 billion to get the offshore facility on stream.

Arnaud Breuillac, president of exploration and production at Total, said: “The Culzean project is delivered ahead of schedule and more than 10% below the initial budget, which represents capex savings of more than £390 million.

“This has been achieved thanks to the excellent performance of the project teams in charge of the construction and drilling operations,” he added.

Total is the largest gas producer in the UK with a net production of 179,000 barrels of oil equivalent (boe) per day in 2018. The addition of the Culzean field means the firm is capable of providing almost a fifth of the UK’s gas consumption.