Equinor cleared to use West Hercules rig to test for CO₂ injection and storage option

Norwegian oil major Equinor has received consent from the Petroleum Safety Authority (PSA) to drill an exploration well for CO₂ verification in the North Sea using the West Hercules rig.

West Hercules drilling rig. Source: Lundin

The well, designated 31/5-7, belongs to exploitation license E001 in which Equinor is the operator.

The area in the E001 license will be used for CO₂ injection and storage. Also, this is the first exploitation licence to be awarded on the Norwegian Continental Shelf.

The well, known as Eon, aims to verify whether subsea strata can be used for CO₂ injection and storage.

The PSA said on Friday that the well would be drilled in the area west of the Troll field in the North Sea at a water depth of 307 meters.

Drilling is scheduled to begin in mid-October 2019, and the operations are expected to last around 79 days.

The well will be drilled by the West Hercules, a semi-submersible mobile drilling rig built in South Korea in 2008. It is owned and operated by North Atlantic Management.

It is worth reminding that Norway gave Equinor permission to develop CO₂ storage on the Norwegian Continental Shelf back in January 2019.

The storage project is part of Norwegian authorities’ efforts to develop full-scale carbon capture and storage in Norway. It will capture CO₂ from three onshore industrial facilities in Eastern Norway and transport CO₂ by ship from the capture area to a receiving plant onshore located on the west-coast of Norway.

Image source: Equinor

At the receiving plant, CO₂ will be pumped over from the ship to tanks onshore, before being sent through pipelines on the seabed to several injection wells on the NCS.

The first phase of this project, named Northern Lights, could reach a capacity of approximately 1.5 million ton per year.

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