Photo: Deepsea Nordkapp rig; Source: Odfjell Drilling

Aker BP makes minor gas discovery in Barents Sea

Oil and gas company Aker BP has made a minor gas discovery south of the Korpfjell gas discovery in the Barents Sea, the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate (NPD) said.

NPD said on Tuesday the Aker BP concluded the drilling of wildcat well 7234/6-1 in production license 858, where the company is the operator with a 40 per cent interest. Partners in the license are Equinor, Petoro, and Lukoil – all with 20 per cent interests.

The well was drilled about 160 kilometres south of the Korpfjell gas discovery in the eastern part of the Barents Sea and 290 kilometres northeast of Vardø.

The objective of the well was to prove petroleum in carbonate reservoir rocks from the Late Carboniferous and Early Permian – the Ørn Formation.

According to the NPD, Aker BP encountered a gas column totalling 57 metres in the Ørn Formation, of which 26 metres in carbonate rocks with poor to moderate reservoir quality.

The gas/water contact was not encountered, but water samples have been collected. The gas discovery has a high CO2 content.

The well encountered traces of gas in several thin sandstone layers of variable reservoir quality in the Snadd, Kobbe, and Havert Formation from the Triassic.

Preliminary estimates place the size of the discovery between 1.6 and 2.1 million standard cubic metres (Sm3) of recoverable oil equivalent.

The discovery is not considered to be financially profitable at present, but the licensees will assess the discovery alongside remaining prospects in the production license.

This is the first exploration well in production licence 858. This licence was awarded in the 23rd licensing round in 2016. The well was drilled to a vertical depth of 4,003 metres below sea level and was terminated in the Ørn Formation in a water depth of 247 metres. The well has been permanently plugged and abandoned.

The well was drilled by the Deepsea Nordkapp drilling facility, which will now drill pilot holes in production license 146 in the North Sea, where Aker BP ASA is the operator.

Several things are worth reminding. Namely, Aker BP was granted a drilling permit for the 7234/6-1 wells in late May. The Norwegian Petroleum Safety Authority (PSA) gave its consent to use the Deepsea Nordkapp rig on the well a month before.

Also, Aker BP in March 2021 exercised the second 12-month option for the Odfjell Drilling-owned Deepsea Nordkapp rig under a contract entered into between the parties in April 2018.

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This most recent well and its minor discovery follow the rig’s recent unsuccessful drilling of the dry 7322/6-1 S well in production licence 722 for Equinor.