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The Ormen Lange gas field, discovered in 1997 (Hydro operated License PL209) in 1000 m (3,281 ft) water depth and covering an area of ca. 350 km2 (217 mi2) was further appraised by four wells prior to development approval in April, 2004. The partnership, Hydro (development operator), Norske Shell (production operator), Petoro, Statoil, ExxonMobil, and Dong, had a planned production-start in October, 2007, from 8 of 28 possible production wells in a staged development using four subsea templates. The development faced a number of challenges; rough seabed topography, subzero sea bottom temperatures, harsh ocean conditions and a change of operatorship at production start-up.

Reservoir characterization of the areally limited, but intensely faulted turbidite reservoir has formed an integral part of the work flows. These work flows address the uncertainty of vertically and horizontally connected reservoir volumes for productivity at well targets. Model scenarios have been constructed in a 3D visualization environment where optimal integration of a multitude of seismic data volumes, derived attributes, and geological model concepts has been achieved. The roughly polygonally distributed faults are not expected to be sealing; having developed close to sea bed, their origin rules out cataclasis and cataclasis-enhanced cementation. The common gas gradient and absence of measurable depletion during well tests support non-sealing faults and vertical connectivity. However, dynamic fault seal uncertainties related to reservoir heterogeneity and compartmentalization have necessitated risking the relatively simple tank scenario and a more cautious, stepwise approach for the development concept. A significant opportunity can be realized if the gas can be produced profitably using only three templates.

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