A day in history: This rig gave birth to Norwegian oil industry

A day in history This rig discovered Ekofisk field

Norway is today Europe’s largest oil producer and exporter. However, it has not always been like that.

According to the Norsk Olje & Gass, in a letter of February 1958 to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Norwegian Geological Survey wrote the following:”The chances of finding coal, oil or sulphur on the continental shelf off the Norwegian coast can be discounted.”

This will change eleven years later.

Ocean Viking

The photo above shows one of the world’s first semi-submersibles drilling rigs, the Ocean Viking. The rig was owned by Ocean Drilling & Exploration Company (ODECO), a pioneering offshore drilling company founded in 1953. ODECO was one of predecessor companies of today’s Diamond Offshore.

The Ocean Viking was the first offshore drilling rig built in Norway. The rig was built by Aker in 1966, but it became famous three years later, while working for Phillips Petroleum.

The rig had been on hire for Phillips Petroleum which, after eleven failed attempts to discover oil offshore Norway, wanted to put its Norwegian operations to a halt.

However, due to its drilling contract commitments, Phillips Petroleum decided to give it one last shot in 1969, and drilled a well in block 2/4.

First and largest

On December 23, 1969, Phillips Petroleum – now ConocoPhillips – informed the Norwegian government that it had discovered Ekofisk – one of the largest offshore oil fields ever found.

The field, located some 200 kilometers south of Stavanger, started production in 1971 via the Gulftide platform, and is in production even today, more than four decades after the original discovery.

The Greater Ekofisk Area today comprises four poducing fields: Ekofisk, Eldfisk, Embla and Tor. Crude oil is exported to Teesside, England, and the natural gas is exported to Emden, Germany.

According  to ConocoPhillips, the Greater Ekofisk Area produced 65 million of barrels of oil equivalent per day in 2014.

Offshore Energy Today Staff