Equinor wins five new operatorships offshore Norway

The West Hercules drilling rig in the Barents Sea. (Photo: Ole Jørgen Bratland – Equinor)

Norway’s Ministry of Petroleum and Energy on Monday offered Equinor seven licences in the 24th licensing round – five operatorships and two partner positions, as part of its 24th licensing round.  

The West Hercules drilling rig in the Barents Sea. (Photo: Ole Jørgen Bratland)

As previously reported, the Norwegian government on Monday offered 12 new production licenses in total to 11 companies.

Following the offer, Arne Sigve Nylund, Equinor’s executive vice president for Development and Production Norway, said: “We have a clear ambition of maintaining profitable production at today’s level on the Norwegian continental shelf (NCS) until 2030 and beyond. It is therefore crucial that we are awarded new exploration acreage beyond already opened areas.”

The award includes a commitment well in the southwestern part of the Barents Sea. Equinor has also been offered an interesting licence in deep waters in a frontier part of the Vøring Basin in the Norwegian Sea.

Nicholas Ashton, Equinor head of exploration on the NCS, commented: “This award is in line with Equinor’s exploration strategy, securing us access at scale. Exploration on the Norwegian continental shelf (NCS) is becoming ever more challenging. It is important to Norway and the companies to map remaining commercial resources both in the Norwegian Sea and the Barents Sea. We see the need for testing new exploration models and that is what we aim for in these licences. Proving alternative exploration models is the best way of fully mapping the NCS resources.”

“We have built on our 40-year history in North Norway and our long exploration experience from the Barents Sea. We therefore want to clarify the potential in the western margin of the Barents Sea and in the Hoop area around Wisting. A Equinor team has worked for a long time on preparing this application, and I am very proud of everyone who has coopered across Equinor to secure the award we received today,” says Ashton.

In contrast to the awards of the 23rd licensing round, the majority of these awards are less mature and therefore require more work before the drilling candidates are ready. Consequently, Equinor will gather and interpret data before the licences are presented to the partners who will decide on any drilling of exploration wells.

“Our drilling campaign in 2017, and the cooperation we have seen in the industry through Barents Sea Exploration Collaboration (BaSEC) prove that we can drill safely and in a commercially competitive way in these areas,” indicates Ashton.

“This as a great opportunity for us. We firmly believe that if we find a sufficient amount of resources we will be able to develop them in a profitable and sustainable manner,” concludes Nicholas Ashton.

In the 24th licensing round Equinor has been offered new production licences in the following areas:

  • 100 % share and operator for production licence PL957 (blocks 6201/6 og 6202/4)
  • 50 % share and operator for production licence PL959 (blocks 6503/8, 11, 12 og 6504/10, 11)
  • 40 % share and operator for production licence PL960 (blocks 7018/4, 5)
  • 50 % share and operator for production licence PL961 (blocks 7116/6 og 7117/4, 5)
  • 70 % share and operator for production licence PL966 (blocks 7325/2, 3, 6, 8, 9 og 7326/4, 7, 8, 9 og 7327/7, 8 og 7426/10, 11)
  • 30 % share and partner for production licence PL963 (blocks 7422/10, 11)  – AkerBP is the operator
  • 35 % share and partner for production licence PL537B (block 7324/4)  – OMV is the operator