The company originally planned to start producing oil at the end of 2018, with an expected final investment cost of approximately US$1.4 billion.
It has revised down the investment guidance for the project to less than US$1.07 billion.
Maria is the first own-operated field in Norway, which Wintershall took from exploration, to development and production.
Wintershall board member Martin Bachmann said: “Ahead of schedule and below budget: Maria is a major achievement for Wintershall, our partners and our suppliers. In challenging times, we have kept a clear focus on smart engineering and sharp project management. The fact that we have achieved this so quickly without incidents is a real credit to the whole team that worked so hard to make this happen.”
Wintershall said it awarded more than 90 per cent of all Maria contracts to companies based in Norway, culminating in an estimated 34,000 years of employment over Maria’s lifetime.
“In challenging times, we have kept a clear focus on smart engineering and sharp project management,” Bachmann continued. “The experience gained in the Maria project will serve as a blueprint for our Nova development, previously known as Skarfjell, and worldwide.”
In the Haltenbanken region of the Norwegian Sea, the Maria field is connected through subsea tiebacks to the Statoil-operated Kristin, Heidrun and Åsgard B production platforms.
Maria is about 20km east of Kristin and about 45km south of Heidrun.
Processed oil will be shipped to the Åsgard field for storage and offloading to shuttle tankers and gas will be sent through the Åsgard Transport System to Kårstø.
The plan for development and operation was submitted to Norway’s Petroleum and Energy Ministry in 2015.
Maria project chief Jens Balmer said: “By using tried and tested components, and working closely with excellent suppliers, we have delivered a field that will continue to return value to us, our partners and the whole of Norway for many years to come.”
With a planned 25 years in operation, Maria has estimated recoverable reserves of around 180 million barrels. Following a solid growth course on the Norwegian Continental Shelf, Wintershall Norge has increased its daily production from 3,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day in 2009 to around 100,000 currently.
Wintershall Norge is the licence operator with a 50-per-cent interest, while Petoro holds a 30-per-cent stake and Spirit Energy has 20 per cent.
Åsgard. Picture credit: Wikimedia