Depsea Yantai rig; Source: Odfjell Drilling

Norway adds ‘largest discovery’ in a decade to its hydrocarbon arsenal

Norwegian oil and gas player Wellesley Petroleum has made a significant gas and condensate discovery in a prospect located in the North Sea off Norway. The drilling work was carried out using one of the Odfjell Drilling-managed rigs.

Depsea Yantai rig; Source: Odfjell Drilling

The Norwegian Petroleum Directorate (NPD) granted Wellesley Petroleum a drilling permit for the well 35/10-10 S in February 2023, a week after the firm obtained consent for exploration drilling in block 35/10 in the North Sea from the Petroleum Safety Authority Norway (PSA). The drilling work was done with the Deepsea Yantai rig, – formerly known as the Beacon Atlantic – which is owned by China’s CIMC and managed by Odfjell Drilling.

The prospect, Carmen, which is located in production licence 1148, was expected to be drilled in March 2023 and the water depth at the location is around 360 metres. Wellesley Petroleum holds an ownership interest of 50 per cent and acts as the operator of the licence, while its partners are DNO Norge (30 per cent), Aker BP (10 per cent) and Equinor (10 per cent).

In an update on Monday, 10 July 2023, Wellesley’s partner, DNO, announced that Norway had logged the “largest hydrocarbon discovery” in ten years, as a preliminary evaluation of comprehensive data, including cores and fluid samples acquired from the discovery well and a follow-on extended sidetrack, indicates gross recoverable resources in the range of 120-230 million barrels of oil equivalent (MMboe) on a P90-P10 basis. 

Therefore, the company claims that Carmen ranks as “the largest discovery on the Norwegian Continental Shelf since 2013,” at 175 MMboe, the mid-point of this range. The two wells have established a deeper hydrocarbon-water contact, tripling the mid-point of DNO’s pre-drill expected range.

Bijan Mossavar-Rahmani, DNO’s Executive Chairman, commented: “Norway is the gift that keeps on giving. Carmen proves there are important discoveries still to be made and Norway’s oldest oil company, DNO, will be part of this next chapter of the country’s oil and gas story.”

Furthermore, Carmen is DNO’s sixth discovery in the Troll-Gjøa area since 2021 and is located close to existing infrastructure with clear routes towards commercialisation. The other discoveries are Røver NordKveikje, OfeliaRøver Sør and Heisenberg.