Deepsea Stavanger rig; Source: Odfjell Drilling

Equinor ready to spud Norwegian Sea prospect this month

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

Deepsea Stavanger rig; Source: Odfjell Drilling

The Norwegian Petroleum Directorate (NPD) reported on Monday, 13 March 2023, that it had granted Equinor a drilling permit for a wildcat well 6406/5-2 S, targeting the Tott West prospect, in production licence 255 B, which was awarded on 19 May 2016 and is valid until 12 May 2038.

As the operator of the licence, Equinor has an ownership interest of 35 per cent, while its partners, TotalEnergies EP Norge and Petoro hold 35 and 30 per cent, respectively. The Petroleum Safety Authority Norway (PSA) gave Equinor consent in January 2023 for exploration drilling in block 6406/5 in the Norwegian Sea.

The water depth at the location is around 304 metres and the drilling operations are expected to take 81 days, however, this would be extended by additional 22 days in case a hydrocarbon discovery is made. The well 6406/5-2 S is expected to be drilled in March 2023. 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.

As a reminder, Equinor hired the Deepsea Stanger rig in May 2021 for a firm period of three wells. While the rig’s contract on the NCS started in February 2022, the Norwegian player added additional wells to the contract 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 occupied 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.