Scarabeo 8 rig; Source: Saipem

‘Significant’ oil discovery for Aker BP in North Sea

Norwegian oil and gas player Aker BP has made -what it describes as – a significant oil discovery in the North Sea off Norway, using a Saipem-owned rig.

Scarabeo 8 rig; Source: Saipem

Aker BP is nearing the completion of the drilling activities for the Øst Frigg Beta/Epsilon exploration well in production licence 873 and 442, where it acts as the operator. The partnership in the first licence consists of Aker BP (47.7 per cent), Equinor (40 per cent), and Lotos Exploration and Production Norge (12.3 per cent interest) while the partnership in the second licence comprises Aker BP (87.7 per cent) and PGNiG Upstream Norway (12.3 per cent interest).

The Norwegian Petroleum Directorate (NPD) granted Aker BP a drilling permit for the well 25/2-24 S in February 2023, just a week after the firm obtained consent for exploration drilling in block 25/2 – covering the drilling of pilot hole 25/2-U-12 and three optional side tracks: 25/2-24 AY1, 25/2-24 AY2 and 25/2-24 B – in the North Sea from the Petroleum Safety Authority Norway (PSA).

The Øst Frigg Beta/Epsilon well, situated in the Yggdrasil area of the Norwegian North Sea, is drilled using Saipem’s Scarabeo 8 semi-submersible rig.  The preliminary estimates indicate a gross recoverable volume of 40-90 million barrels of oil equivalent (mmboe), surpassing the previously communicated pre-drill estimate of 18-45 mmboe.

Per Øyvind Seljebotn, SVP Exploration & Reservoir Development in Aker BP, remarked: “We are extremely pleased with the results of this well. The discovery will be evaluated as a potential addition to the Yggdrasil development. We see further upside potential around Yggdrasil and, in collaboration with our partners, will continue active exploration in the area.”

According to Aker BP, the discovery enhances the resource base for the Yggdrasil development, which was previously stated at 650 mmboe (gross). The plan for development and operations (PDO) for this project was submitted to Norwegian authorities in December 2022, with production scheduled to start in 2027.

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The total investments for the Yggdrasil project are estimated at NOK 115 billion or over $11.6 billion.