ConocoPhillips projects start to ramp up oil production in North Sea

HOUSTON — Oil has begun flowing from the first well in ConocoPhillips’ newest Norwegian offshore development project, the first trickle of a four-year effort to expand production in the region, the Houston company said Monday.

The so-called Ekofisk South project, 200 miles southwest of Stavanger, Norway, began production late last week. It is the first of several startups slated to boost the company’s production in the North Sea by 60,000 barrels in daily production by 2017.

Last year, ConocoPhillips pumped 75,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day in the Greater Ekofisk Area, where it has a 35 percent interest, according to regulatory filings.

The company said it plans to drill 35 new production wells and eight water injection wells in the Ekofisk South area, and a second project in the North Sea, the Eldfisk II, is bound for launch in early 2015.

“These projects will increase ultimate resource recoveries and extend the field life of this premier legacy asset for years to come,” Matt Fox, an executive vice president for exploration and production, said in a written statement.