Scarabeo 8 rig; Source: Saipem

New oil discovery in North Sea ‘not profitable’ at this moment in time

Norwegian oil and gas player Aker BP has made a new oil discovery in the North Sea off Norway, using a Saipem-owned rig.

Scarabeo 8 rig; Source: Saipem

Aker BP has concluded the drilling of a wildcat well 25/10-17 S in production license 867 B , where Aker BP is the operator with an ownership interest of 80 per cent, while its partner, Lime Petroleum (LPA), holds the remaining 20 per cent interest. This is the first exploration well in this license, which was awarded in APA 2019.

The Norwegian Petroleum Directorate (NPD) granted Aker BP a drilling permit for well 25/10-17 S, targeting the Gjegnalunden prospect, in November 2022, after the Petroleum Safety Authority Norway (PSA) gave Aker BP consent for exploration drilling in block 25/10 in the North Sea, covering wells 25/10-17 S and 25/10-U-9.

The well was drilled using Saipem’s Scarabeo 8 semi-submersible rig. The water depth at the site is 116 meters. The well was drilled about 12 kilometres north of the Ivar Aasen field, and 187 kilometres southwest of Haugesund.

The Norwegian Petroleum Directorate revealed on Friday, 10 February 2023, that the primary exploration target for the well was to prove petroleum in Middle Jurassic reservoir rocks in the Hugin and Sleipner formations. On the other hand, the secondary exploration target for the well was to prove petroleum in the Skagerrak Formation from the Triassic.

According to NPD, the well 25/10-17 S encountered a 3-metre oil column in the Hugin Formation totalling 98 metres, 80 metres of which was sandstone of moderate reservoir quality. The oil/water contact was encountered at 3,654 metres below sea level. In addition, residual oil – remaining petroleum – was encountered both over and under the oil column in the Hugin and Sleipner formations while the Skagerrak Formation was water-bearing.

Based on NPD’s statement, the preliminary estimates place the size of the discovery between 0.5 and 1.4 million Sm3 of recoverable oil equivalent and the initial assessments show that the discovery is “not profitable at the present time.”

The well 25/10-17 S was drilled to a vertical depth of 4,057 metres below sea level and was terminated in the Skagerrak Formation in the Upper Triassic. While the well was not formation-tested, data acquisition and sampling were carried out. The well will now be permanently plugged and abandoned, says the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate.

The Scarabeo 8 rig will now drill wildcat well 16/1-25 S in production license 1141 in the North Sea, where Aker BP is the operator.