Equinor clears regulatory hurdles to drill another North Sea well

Equinor obtains permit for another North Sea well

Norwegian oil and gas giant Equinor has secured a permit from the country’s authorities for the drilling of another wildcat well, located in the North Sea offshore Norway.

Deepsea Stavanger drilling rig; Source: Odfjell Drilling

The Norwegian Petroleum Directorate (NPD) confirmed on Thursday that the well 34/9-1 S would be drilled to test a prospect named Cambozola. The drilling programme for this well entails the drilling of an exploration well in production licence 1049, which was awarded in 2020 and is valid until 14 February 2025.

Equinor is the operator of the licence with an ownership interest of 35 per cent, while other licensees are Petoro (20 per cent), Longboat Energy Norge (25 per cent) and Spirit Energy Norway (20 per cent).

The water depth at the site is 382 metres and the drilling operations are expected to start in March 2022 and take up to 98 days. The well will be drilled using the Odfjell Drilling-owned Deepsea Stavanger rig, which received an Acknowledgement of Compliance (AoC) from the PSA in April 2017.

The rig’s contract with Equinor on the NCS started in February 2022. Originally, Equinor awarded a contract for a firm period of three wells with an expected duration of four months to the Deepsea Stavanger rig in May 2021. Due to this, the Deepsea Stavanger became the third rig from Odfjell’s fleet to join Equinor, along with its sister units Deepsea Atlantic and Deepsea Aberdeen.

A few months later, Equinor also added an additional well to the contract for this rig, which will see keep it busy into the third quarter of 2022. The Deepsea Stavanger is a sixth generation deepwater and harsh environment semi-submersible of an enhanced GVA 7500 design.

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In related news, the NPD last month granted Equinor a permit for wells 34/4-18 S and 35/10-8 S located in production licence 057 and licence 293 B, respectively, which will be drilled in the North Sea, using the same rig.