Photo: Wisting FPSO illustration; Credit: Asle Haugland/Equinor

Lundin asks Equinor to keep the operatorship of next Barents Sea production hub

Oil and gas company Lundin Energy has increased its interest in the Wisting project development – the next Barents Sea production hub – while Equinor has agreed to continue the operatorship of the project not only in the development but also in the operations phase of the project.

Following the closing of all pre-requisite conditions, Lundin Energy on Friday completed the previously announced transaction to acquire a further 25 per cent working interest from OMV in the Wisting development for $320 million. The deal is effective from 1 January 2021.

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Lundin Energy has also entered into a cooperation agreement with Equinor regarding the operatorship of Wisting and nearby exploration licences. One of the key terms of this agreement includes Lundin’s proposal to Equinor to retain operatorship of the Wisting development into the operations phase, to allow for operational synergies. Equinor has accepted this proposal and will continue as the operator in the operations phase for the Wisting field.

Equinor has been the operator of the Wisting field development phase since 1 December 2019 after taking over the operatorship from OMV. Following an investment decision for the project, which is expected at the end of 2022, Equinor will continue its Wisting operatorship into the operations phase. An impact assessment is scheduled to be completed during the first quarter of 2022.

It has also been agreed for Lundin to become the operator for the exploration acreage surrounding Wisting (PL1133 and PL1134), including an increase in its working interest to 35 per cent. The operatorship for the licences is scheduled to be returned to Equinor in a field development phase.

Lundin will also collaborate further with Equinor in the Wisting development by secondment of its employees into key technical and operational positions within the Wisting project.

The Wisting project is located in the Hoop area of the Barents Sea, around 310 kilometres from the Norwegian mainland. Volumes are estimated at 440 million barrels of oil equivalent.

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As the project is progressing towards the investment decision, Equinor in November booked Aker Solutions to provide front-end design- and engineering for a circular FPSO solution. The FEED contract also includes an option for engineering, procurement, construction, and integration of the topside for the FPSO.

In addition to Aker Solutions, Equinor also assembled a whole team of contractors for this project, including FMC Kongsberg Subsea, Technip Norge, OneSubsea Processing, IKM Ocean Design, Subsea 7, NOV, and Baker Hughes. Project investments are estimated to be in the range of $7.1-$8.8 billion.