OPINION: It was US baseball legend Yogi Berra who coined the phrase “it ain’t over until it’s over”, one of a number of seemingly unintentional witticisms now widely known as “Yogi-isms”.
If Berra had been involved in the oil and gas industry, he may well have come up with “it ain't delayed until it’s delayed”.
It is a fitting way, perhaps, to describe Total’s huge redevelopment of the Tyra gas field off Denmark.
Last week, Total finally admitted that start-up of the $3 billion redevelopment of the field has been postponed.
Instead of 2022, first gas has been put back by a year until the middle of 2023.
The writing has been on the wall for the Tyra schedule for some time even if — until now — Total has insisted that first gas remained on track for 2022.
The first signals Tyra was under pressure came in December last year, even before the Covid-19 pandemic took hold in most parts of the world.
That was when McDermott International — Total’s main contractor — announced a surprise decision to sub-contract a big section of the fabrication work it had been awarded to competitor Semborp Marine Offshore Platforms (Sembmarine) in Singapore.
Sources told Upstream at the time this was due to “execution issues”.
Since then, those problems have been compounded by yard closures caused by the spread of the coronavirus.
More is riding on Tyra than many projects given its strategic importance to Danish Energy supplies — a massive 90% of Danish gas supplies are processed through Tyra. Therefore, as unavoidable as many of the Covid-19-related delays have been and as well as Total has managed to mitigate them, the reset is bound to come as an embarrassment to the French giant, which moved into Denmark and inherited the project through its $7.45 billion acquisition of domestic player Maersk Oil in 2017.
For industry observers who have seen many major offshore projects come under pressure only for their operators to insist timing is on track until they suddenly announce a delay, another well-known Yogi-ism might spring to mind: "It's like deja-vu all over again."
(This is an Upstream opinion article.)