British oil giant BP (NYSE:BP) plans to launch a $4.8 billion redevelopment of a North Sea field in its ongoing efforts to appease investors after its Russian venture fell through earlier this year.
The project, which would take production out to at least 2035, would be in the Schiehallion and Loyal oil fields to the west of the Shetland Islands.
The two have produced nearly 400 million barrels of oil since production started in 1998 and an estimated 450 barrels of resources are predicted to still be available.
This important milestone is consistent with BP's strategy to sustain a material, high quality business in the North Sea region, Trevor Garlick, BPs regional president of its North Sea business.
The fields are established assets with a strong future, and the company is taking steps to maximize the fields greater potential, he said.
By 2015, BP intends to finish replacing the Schiehallion floating, production, storage and offlanding vessel. The new vessel will be 270 meters long by 25 meters wide and able to export up to 130,000 barrels of oil a day and store in excess of 1 million barrels.
Starting in 2016, BP will start upgrading and replacing the subsea facilities to enable the full development of the reserves.
The move comes after BPs planned $16 billion shares swap and an Arctic exploration deal with Russias Rosneft fell apart, disappointing many of its investors. That failed partnership was seen as BPs greatest growth project since the Gulf of Mexico oil spill stunted its growth.