Transocean Enabler drilling rig - Equinor

Equinor gearing up for Barents Sea wildcat

The Norwegian Petroleum Directorate (NPD) has granted Equinor a drilling permit for a wildcat well located offshore Norway.

Transocean Enabler drilling rig. Credit: Jan Arne Wold/Woldcam - Equinor

The permit is for the well 7220/8-2 S, which is located in production licence 532 in the Barents Sea. The licence was granted in May 2009 and is valid until May 2049. The production phase of the licence has been valid since May 2019.

Equinor is the operator of the licence with a 50 per cent interest while its partners Vår Energi and Petoro hold 30 per cent and 20 per cent interest, respectively.

The well, targeting the Snøfonn Nord prospect, is expected to be drilled next month, using the Transocean Enabler semi-submersible rig. It is located approximately 5 km from the planned location for the Johan Castberg FPSO, which has just recently started its journey from a shipyard in Singapore to Norway.

According to information available from the Norwegian Environment Agency, drilling operations are expected to last for 43 days in the case of a discovery.

The Transocean Enabler rig has recently also been awarded a contract to drill one carbon injection well and a sidetrack for another carbon injection well drilled in early 2020 in support of the Northern Lights carbon capture and storage project. Equinor is one of the partners in Northern Lights, which also includes TotalEnergies and Shell.

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The work on the project will be done later this year as part of the rig’s current drilling contract with Equinor, which is expected to end in 2024.

It is also worth reminding that, about a year ago, Equinor used the same rig to drill the 7220/7-4 wildcat well, also in the Barents Sea, resulting in an oil discovery.