Depsea Yantai rig; Source: Odfjell Drilling

Norwegian oil & gas firm all set to spud North Sea wildcat

Norwegian oil and gas player Wellesley Petroleum has secured a drilling permit from the country’s authorities for an exploration well in the North Sea off Norway. The drilling work is expected to be carried out using one of the Odfjell Drilling-managed rigs.

Depsea Yantai rig; Source: Odfjell Drilling

The Norwegian Petroleum Directorate (NPD) disclosed on Tuesday, 21 February 2023, that it had granted Wellesley Petroleum a drilling permit for the well 35/10-10 S. This comes a week after Wellesley Petroleum obtained consent for exploration drilling in block 35/10 in the North Sea from the Petroleum Safety Authority Norway (PSA).

The programme for the well entails drilling a wildcat well in production licence 1148, which was awarded on 11 March 2022 and is valid until 11 March 2027. 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).

The prospect, Carmen, is expected to be drilled in March 2023 and the water depth at the location is around 360 metres. The well will be drilled with the Deepsea Yantai rig, – formerly known as the Beacon Atlantic – which is owned by China’s CIMC and managed by Odfjell Drilling.

The 2019-built Deepsea Yantai rig, which is capable of harsh environment operation, is of a GM4D design. The rig has several jobs lined up for 2023 and the most recent one with PGNiG Upstream Norway was disclosed in January 2023.

Furthermore, the rig is expected to work for Austria’s OMV in 1Q 2023 and drill one firm well in the North Sea, plus one optional well in 2023 or 2024. It will also work for DNO Norge in 2Q/3Q 2023 and drill one firm well in the North Sea while Neptune Energy extended the contract for the use of this rig for two firm wells in Norway.