Discovered in the early 90s, Solan is an extremely challenging offshore oil development in the northern North Sea, west of the Shetland Islands on the fringes of the Atlantic Ocean. Atkins has a long history with Solan, having developed the initial innovative concept which unlocked the potential to develop the field, a field not previously considered to be economically viable. The isolation of the field and the extreme weather conditions was a huge challenge – not near any pipeline or export infrastructure. The project needed to cost-effectively export the crude oil product, whist at the same time withstanding the harsh environment through installation and operations.
Beginning in 2008, our highly skilled group of engineers were involved in each step of the Solan project from concept development work, through to Front-End Engineering Design (FEED) and then detailed design work in 2012-2013. Work was completed for client Premier Oil in 2014, after more than five years.
Once into full project development Kent was contracted directly by Premier Oil as lead designer to carry out the multi-discipline engineering design of the first-of-type Solan Subsea Oil Storage Tank (SOST). This was a Kent concept and the core of the system which unlocks the financial viability of the development. Kent led the design through both Front-End Engineering Design (FEED) and detailed design – supporting the project all the way through fabrication and to installation and commissioning.
Prior to the Premier Oil investment, the Solan field license was acquired by Chrysaor Ltd (late 2000’s). Kent was contracted by Chrysaor as lead designer, delivering several concept selection studies to define the best techno-economic solutions for the site. Cost, alongside safety, was the primary driver from day one. If Kent and the client could not demonstrate a solution existed that gave the required return on investment for the entire project, then the project would simply not go ahead and the development would generate zero revenue.
Working alongside the client, Kent developed a solution which was new to the industry but brought together aspects of other designs that had been shown to work. The Kent design was fundamentally a low CAPEX and OPEX solution which allowed the project to proceed. Following further parallel exploration drilling on the Solan field, the client discovered greater oil reserves which led to design iterations and increased financial potential for the field.