Photo: Deepsea Yantai rig; Source: Odfjell Drilling

Drill bit spins at exploration well in North Sea

Oil and gas company Neptune Energy has started drilling the Ofelia exploration well in the Norwegian sector of the North Sea.

The well, 35/6-3 S, is being drilled by the Deepsea Yantai, a semi-submersible rig, owned by CIMC and operated by Odfjell Drilling. The Ofelia prospect is located 13 kilometres north of the Gjøa field within the Neptune-operated PL929 Licence. The company secured consent from the Norwegian authorities to drill this well using the Deepsea Yantai rig in late May 2022.

This latest well comes only days after Neptune announced the completion of drilling operations on four development wells on its operated Fenja field in the Norwegian Sea. These wells were also drilled using the Deepsea Yantai rig.

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Announcing the beginning of Ofelia drilling operations on Wednesday, Neptune said that, in the event of a commercial discovery, the Ofelia prospect could be tied back to its operated Gjøa platform and produce at less than half the average carbon intensity of Norwegian Continental Shelf fields1.

Neptune Energy’s Director of Subsurface in Norway, Steinar Meland, said: “Ofelia is an interesting prospect and fits our exploration strategy of focusing on opportunities within core areas near existing infrastructure. In case of a discovery, Ofelia could potentially be developed in parallel with Hamlet, resulting in a low cost and carbon efficient development.”

As a reminder, operations to drill the Hamlet exploration well started in February 2022 and Neptune confirmed an oil and gas discovery in late April.

Ofelia is positioned in one of Neptune’s core areas and close to existing infrastructure. The reservoir target is the Lower Cretaceous Agat Formation and is expected to be reached at a depth of approximately 2,570 metres.

The drilling program comprises a main-bore (35/6-3 S) with an optional side-track (35/6-3 A) based on the outcome of the exploration well.

Partners in the licence include Neptune Energy (operator, 40 per cent), Wintershall Dea (20 per cent), Lundin Energy Norway – owned by Aker BP – (10 per cent), Pandion Energy (20 per cent), and DNO (10 per cent).