Photo: Deepsea Stavanger rig; Source: Odfjell Drilling

Equinor all set to drill North Sea wildcat

Norway’s state-owned energy giant Equinor has secured a drilling permit from the country’s authorities for an exploration well in the North Sea off Norway. The drilling work is expected to be carried out using one of Odfjell Drilling’s rigs.

The Norwegian Petroleum Directorate (NPD) confirmed earlier this week that it had granted Equinor a drilling permit for the well 35/10-9. This comes just weeks after Equinor obtained consent for exploration drilling in block 35/10 in the North Sea from the Petroleum Safety Authority Norway (PSA).

The programme for this well entails the drilling of a wildcat well in production licence 827 S, which was awarded on 5 February 2016 and is valid until 5 February 2026. As the operator of the licence, Equinor holds an ownership interest of 51 per cent, while its partner, DNO Norge, holds the remaining 49 per cent.

The well is expected to be drilled in January 2023 and the water depth at the location is around 368 metres. The drilling operations will be carried out with the Deepsea Stavanger rig, which received an Acknowledgement of Compliance (AoC) from the PSA in April 2017.

Equinor hired this rig in May 2021 for a firm period of three wells. The rig’s contract on the NCS started in February 2022. The Norwegian player added additional wells to the contract for this rig in September 2021March 2022May 2022, at the start and end of July 2022 and in late September 2022. These wells are expected to keep the rig booked into the fourth quarter of 2023.

The 2010-built Deepsea Stavanger rig is a sixth-generation deepwater and harsh environment semi-submersible of an enhanced GVA 7500 design. It was designed for operations at water depths of up to 3,000 metres and has a 7,500 mt loading capacity.