Equinor submits plans to develop major British North Sea oilfield

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FILE PHOTO: Equinor's logo is seen next to the company's headquarters in Stavanger
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By Ron Bousso

LONDON (Reuters) - Norway's Equinor on Thursday submitted to British regulators plans for the development of a major oilfield in the North Sea which is expected to start production in late 2026.

The environmental statement for the Rosebank field is a key step towards the approval of the development of the field, one of few known major prospects in the ageing basin.

In the online document, Equinor, the operator, said the field would be developed in two phases in which the wells will be connected to a floating production, storage and offloading (FPSO) vessel on which the oil and gas will be processed.

The field's gas will be exported from the FPSO via a new pipeline to the existing West of Shetland Pipeline systems (WOSPS). The oil will be offloaded using tankers.

First production from the field is expected in the fourth quarter of 2026, Equinor said.

Oil production is expected to peak at around 70,000 barrels per day during 2027-2029. Gas production is predicted to peak at 1.72 million cubic metres per day between 2029 and 2031, before steadily declining.

The environmental statement is now open to public consultation.

A spokesperson for Equinor said the company aims to make a final investment decision on the field in the first quarter of 2023.

Equinor and Suncor Energy each have a 40% interest in the Rosebank project, while Ithaca Energy has the remaining 20%.

The progress on Rosebank comes weeks after Shell gave the greenlight for the development of the North Sea's Jackdaw gas field, even after the government imposed a 25% additional windfall tax on the sector.

However, firms can offset a big chunk of the new tax by investing in new oil and gas fields, a mechanism the government says is designed to help energy security.

Climate activists at Greenpeace plan to mount a legal challenge against the Jackdaw development.

(Reporting by Ron Bousso; Editing by Kirsten Donovan)

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