Photo: West Hercules drilling rig; Source: Equinor/Ole Jørgen Bratland

Equinor makes largest NCS discovery so far this year

Norwegian oil major Equinor has made the biggest discovery so far this year on the Norwegian continental shelf (NCS) in a prospect near the Fram field in the North Sea.

Equinor said on Wednesday that two wells were drilled about three kilometres southwest of the Fram field in the Blasto prospect.

The primary exploration target for one of the wells – designated 31/2-22 S – was to prove petroleum in the Sognefjord Formation from the Late Jurassic Age. The secondary target of the well was to investigate reservoir properties in the Fensfjord Formation from the Middle Jurassic Age.

The primary exploration target for the other well – designated 31/2-22 A – was to prove petroleum in the Sognefjord Formation in the neighbouring structure west of 31/2-22 S.

Well first well encountered a total oil column of about 30 metres in the upper part of the Sognefjord Formation, 25 metres of which was sandstone with very good reservoir quality. It also encountered an oil column of about 50 metres in the lower part of the Sognefjord Formation, about 40 metres of which was sandstone with good to very good reservoir quality. The oil/water contacts were proven at 1,860 metres and 1,960 metres below sea level, respectively. The well encountered about 65 metres of sandstone in the Fensfjord Formation, with moderate to good reservoir quality.

The second well encountered about 55 metres of water-bearing sandstone with good to very good reservoir quality in the upper part of the Sognefjord Formation and about 25 metres of water-bearing sandstone with poor to good reservoir quality in the lower part of the Sognefjord Formation. Equinor classified the well as dry.

Equinor
Blasto location; Source: Equinor

Equinor stated that the preliminary estimate of the size of the discovery is between 12 and 19 million standard cubic metres (Sm3) of recoverable oil equivalent, corresponding to 75-120 million barrels of recoverable oil equivalent. The operator Equinor and licensees Vår Energi, Idemitsu Petroleum, and Neptune Energy have assessed the discovery as commercial and will consider a tie-in to other discoveries and existing infrastructure in the area.

Nick Ashton, Equinor’s SVP for exploration in Norway, said: “The discovery revitalises one of the most mature areas on the NCS. With discoveries in four of four prospects in the Fram area during the past 18 months, we have proven volumes that in total will create considerable value for society”.

It is worth noting that the wells were not formation-tested, but extensive data acquisition and sampling had been carried out. These are the first and second exploration wells in production licence 090 I. The licence was awarded in APA 2017.

Well 31/2-22 S was drilled to a vertical depth of 2,282 metres and a measured depth of 2,379 metres below sea level and was terminated in the Heather Formation from the Middle Jurassic Age. Well 31/2-22 A was drilled to a vertical depth of 2,035 metres and a measured depth of 2,207 metres below sea level and was terminated in the lower part of the Sognefjord Formation. The water depth at the site is 349 metres. The wells have been permanently plugged and abandoned.

Based on the quality of the resources and the proximity to existing infrastructure the discoveries can be developed and produced in line with Equinor’s climate goals. The company’s ambition is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from operated fields and onshore plants in Norway by 40 per cent by 2030, compared to 2018.

The wells were drilled by the West Hercules drilling facility, which will now drill wildcat well 34/6-5 S in production licence 554 in the northern North Sea, where Equinor is the operator.

To remind, before drilling these two wells Equinor struck oil using the West Hercules near the Troll field in the North Sea in early February.