Shell has said the Fram development in the central UK North Sea is good to go after securing final approval from the Department of Energy and Climate Change.

The Anglo-Dutch supermajor has called the development one of its most significant in the area for more than a decade and one of the largest currently planned by any UK North Sea explorer.

UK Energy Minister John Hayes said the development – set to add 2% to the country’s overall output – showed how “the durability of oil production in the North Sea constantly confounds expectation”.

Shell’s Glen Cayley said employment and industry would benefit significantly from the development, which also illustrated progress made in technological innovation.

Situated 220 kilometres east of Aberdeen in a water depth of around 100 metres, Fram is operated by Shell on a 32% equity stake with Esso on 68%.

The play had been discovered decades ago but never developed, until a 2009 appraisal trebled the resource potential of the field to 300 million barrels of oil equivalent.

The Anglo-Dutch supermajor expects to see first production within three years, and for the field to see an average output of 35,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day.

Under plans, eight production wells, one production water re-injection well, two subsea drill centres and a subsea flowline bundle will all produce to a floating production, storage and offloading vessel being supplied by SBM Offshore.

The oil will be exported via tanker and rich wet gas will be exported via the existing Shell-Esso Fulmar Gas Line (FGL) (18km away) and the Shell-Esso Gas and Liquids (SEGAL) system.