Scarabeo 8 rig; Source: Saipem

Aker BP finds more oil in North Sea thanks to new discovery

Norwegian oil and gas player Aker BP has made a new oil discovery in the North Sea off Norway, using a Saipem-owned rig.

Scarabeo 8 rig; Source: Saipem

Aker BP obtained a drilling permit for the well 25/4-15 from the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate (NPD) in February 2023, which came two months after the firm got consent for exploration drilling in block 25/4 in the North Sea from the Petroleum Safety Authority Norway (PSA).

The programme for the well entailed the drilling of a wildcat well in production licence 919, which was awarded on 2 March 2018 and is valid until 2 March 2027. As the operator of the licence, Aker BP has an ownership interest of 80 per cent, while its partner, ConocoPhillips Skandinavia, holds the remaining 20 per cent. This is the first exploration well in this licence, which was awarded in APA 2017.

In an update on Thursday, 13 April 2023, the NPD confirmed that Aker BP had concluded the drilling of wildcat well 25/4-15, which was drilled about 5 kilometres west of the Vilje field in the North Sea, and 215 kilometres west of Stavanger. The objective of the well was to prove petroleum in Paleocene reservoir rocks in the Heimdal Formation.

According to the NPD, the well 25/4-15 encountered a 31.5-metre oil column in the Heimdal Formation, 29 metres of which was a sandstone reservoir with good reservoir quality. The Heimdal Formation was 187 metres thick in total.

Furthermore, the oil/water contact was encountered at 2,253 metres below sea level, and the contact was confirmed with pressure points. In addition, a 1.5-metre zone of residual oil was encountered in deeper Heimdal sand with good reservoir quality.

Based on the NPD’s statement, the preliminary calculations place the size of the discovery between 0.5 and 0.8 million standard cubic metres (Sm3) of recoverable oil and the licensees intend to assess the discovery alongside other discoveries in the vicinity with a view towards possible development.

Moreover, small-scale formation tests were conducted and data acquisition and sampling were also carried out. The well 25/4-15 was drilled to a vertical depth of 2,375 metres below sea level and was terminated in the Heimdal Formation in the Palaeocene. The water depth is 119 metres and the well has now been permanently plugged and abandoned.

The well 25/4-15 was drilled by Saipem’s Scarabeo 8 semi-submersible rig, which is now moving on to drill wildcat well 25/2-24 S in production licence 873, where Aker BP is also the operator.

Scarabeo 8 is a sixth-generation dual derrick deepwater semi-submersible drilling rig capable of working in harsh environments with a dynamic positioning system and enhanced mooring capabilities. This rig can accommodate 140 people and its maximum drilling depth is 35,000 ft.