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Oil major BP Plc (BP - Analyst Report) has finally commenced oil production from its new facilities at the Valhall field in the southern part of the Norwegian North Sea.

The redevelopment project at Valhall is expected to extend the life of the veteran field by another 40 years and build a capacity to operate 120,000 barrels of oil and 143 million cubic feet of gas per day.

The British operator now intends to boost the capacity at the field to about 65,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day in the second half of 2013, after adding new facilities to enhance its handling capacity.

The expansion comprises a new production, utilities and accommodation platform installed on a fixed steel jacket, an external system of bridges and walkways connecting the new platform to the existing Valhall complex, as well as an integrated operating environment linking onshore and offshore personnel.

Along with the new platform, the Valhall field complex now comprises six separate manned platforms as well as two unmanned flank facilities – each about six kilometers from the main facilities.

The upgrade of the field is the first of its kind offshore Norway and in BP’s portfolio to be powered completely from shore. A 294-kilometer cable from Lista is used for the electrification of the field, which will result in almost zero emissions from the field.

The Valhall field was discovered in 1975 and was brought online in 1982, while the redevelopment is likely to extend yield from the field to 2050. The work at Valhall has proved to be an expensive affair, as numerous delays increased costs by 86% last year.

BP, the operator of Valhall, has a 35.9% interest, while Hess Corporation (HES - Analyst Report) holds the remaining 64.1%.

BP holds a Zacks Rank #3, which is equivalent to a Hold rating for a period of one to three months. However, there are other stocks in the oil and gas sector – Enbridge Energy Management LLC (EEQ - Snapshot Report) and Sunoco Logistics Partners LP (SXL - Analyst Report) – which hold a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) and are expected to perform better.

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