Scarabeo 8 rig; Source: Saipem

Aker BP’s drilling ops yield new gas discovery in Norwegian waters

Norwegian oil and gas player Aker BP has made a new gas discovery on the Norwegian Continental Shelf (NCS), using one of Saipem’s semi-submersible rigs.

Scarabeo 8 rig; Source: Saipem

The Norwegian Offshore Directorate (NOD) granted a drilling permit in May 2024 for a wildcat well 7324/6-2, Ferdinand Nord, in production license 1170, which was awarded on March 11, 2022, and is valid until March 11, 2030.

Aker BP (35%) operates the license with partners Equinor (35%), Petoro (20%), and Inpex Idemitsu Norge (10%). The exploration well 7324/6-2 was drilled in the Barents Sea with Saipem’s Scarabeo 8 semi-submersible rig, which was hired on a three-year deal, worth $325 million, in March 2022

While the primary exploration target for the well was to prove petroleum in Middle Jurassic to Upper Triassic reservoir rocks in the Stø and Fruholmen formations, the secondary exploration target for the well was to prove petroleum in Upper Triassic reservoir rocks in the Snadd Formation.

The well 7324/6-2 encountered a 12-meter gas column in the Stø Formation in two sandstone layers totaling 10.5 meters, with good to very good reservoir quality. The gas/water contact was not encountered and the well also did not encounter reservoir rock in the Fruholmen Formation.

Furthermore, a 6-meter gas column was encountered in the Snadd Formation in a sandstone layer with moderate reservoir quality, but no gas/water contact was encountered. The well 7324/6-2 encountered the secondary exploration target in the Snadd Formation with around 40 meters of sandstone with poor reservoir quality and traces of hydrocarbons.

While the well was not formation-tested, extensive data acquisition and sampling have been conducted. The well 7324/6-2 was drilled to a vertical depth of 1,246 meters below sea level and terminated in the Snadd Formation in the Upper Triassic. The water depth at the site is 422 meters and the well has been permanently plugged and abandoned.

Based on the preliminary estimates, the size of the natural gas discovery is between 0.52 – 0.75 million standard cubic meters (Sm3) of recoverable oil equivalent (o.e.), corresponding to 3.3 – 4.7 million bbls o.e. The licensees will assess the gas find alongside other discoveries and prospects in the area with a view toward a potential development.

Aker BP is also working on developing multiple oil and gas projects. Recently, the firm kicked off production from a field development in the Norwegian sector of the North Sea, which has been tied into the Ivar Aasen platform about 15 kilometers further south.