Work starts on Maersk Oil gas field platform

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Media captionThe platform will be about 145 miles east of Aberdeen

Work has started on building platforms to exploit the biggest discovery of oil and gas in the North Sea for more than a decade.

Danish firm Maersk Oil was given government approval for the Culzean project last year, despite the oil price being close to its lowest.

From 2019, the platform is expected to supply about 5% of Britain's gas need.

Much of the work for the $4.5bn (£3.2bn) project is being carried out in the Far East.

Image caption A ceremony was held in Singapore where work has started on the platform

The steel-cutting ceremony for the first of the three topsides modules was held on Thursday at a yard in Singapore.

Maersk said the work had to be done in Singapore because the facility required high pressure, high temperature technology which was not available in the UK.

The company added that the UK would benefit from both production jobs and the tax income when it started producing.

The Culzean Field is about 145 miles east of Aberdeen and is expected to be operational for at least 13 years.

Speaking at the ceremony in Singapore, Maersk Oil chief executive Jakob Thomasen, said: "Starting the fabrication of the topsides is an important milestone.

"When the field begins to produce in 2019, Culzean will become a key contributor to Maersk Oil's ambition to become a top five operator in the North Sea in the 2020s, and provide around 5% of UK gas demand at peak production.

"Maersk Oil and coventurers' investment will also support employment in both the UK and Asian supply chains."

The other companies involved in the field are JX Nippon and BP.

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