Commercial volumes not present in new gas discovery off Norway

OMV Norge, a subsidiary of Austria’s oil and gas company OMV, has made a new gas discovery at an exploration well in the Norwegian Sea, using one of Transocean’s semi-submersible rigs.

Transocean Norge rig; Source: Transocean

OMV recently secured a drilling permit from the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate (NPD) for the well 6607/3-1 S and obtained consent for exploration drilling in blocks 6607/3 and 6607/6 in the Norwegian Sea from the Petroleum Safety Authority Norway (PSA). The prospect, Velocette, is situated in a water depth of around 475 meters.

The program for the well entailed drilling a wildcat well in production license 1016, which is operated by OMV (40%) with Inpex Idemitsu Norge (40%) and Longboat JAPEX Norge (20%) as partners. The well was drilled with the Transocean Norge rig, thanks to a 17-well contract, which the rig secured in September 2022, after two oil and gas companies, Wintershall Dea and OMV, entered into an exclusive partnership with Transocean for the use of the rig for the drilling of all firm and additional potential wells in the period 2023 to 2027.

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According to OMV’s partner, Longboat, a “minor” discovery has been made at the Velocette exploration well, which encountered hydrocarbons in the primary target in Cretaceous turbidite sands in the Nise formation. The top of the reservoir was reached close to prognosis at a vertical depth of 3,348 meters below sea level with 61 meters of high net-to-gross, moderate to very good quality sandstone. The company explains that the data acquisition indicates a gas column of approximately nine meters in the well.

As the Velocette volumes are at the lower end of pre-drill expectations, Longboat confirms that the discovery is not considered to be commercial in isolation. However, the license contains other prospects that have been derisked by the presence of gas in a good-quality reservoir in the Velocette well. Based on the firm’s statement, the remaining prospectivity has “significant” size potential in multiple structures and with slightly different trapping geometries.

Therefore, Longboat believes that the further assessment of the license prospectivity together with other opportunities in the area could impact the commercial potential of the license. The high-quality data and gas and fluid samples were collected in the exploration well and these will be integrated into the updated prospect evaluations. OMV’s PL1016 is located within tie-back distance from the Equinor-operated Aasta Hansteen field. The Velocette well will be plugged and abandoned as planned.

Helge Hammer, Chief Executive of Longboat Energy, commented: “Although we are disappointed not to have made a commercial discovery in Velocette, the presence of good quality sandstone reservoir, which was the main pre-drill risk, and the presence of gas is encouraging. There is significant follow-on potential that has been derisked with this result and we will be working with our joint venture partners to mature these opportunities further.”