Bay du Nord FPSO development concept; Source: Equinor

Subsea7 and OneSubsea hired to work on Wisting and Bay du Nord oil projects

Subsea Integration Alliance, comprising OneSubsea and Subsea7, has won a long-term strategic agreement with Norway’s state-owned energy giant Equinor, paving the way for collaboration to begin immediately on early, joint concept studies for two giant oil projects.

Bay du Nord FPSO development concept; Source: Equinor

Thanks to the deal signed by Equinor and Subsea Integration Alliance in Stavanger work on the maturation of subsea scope will be able to start immediately at the Wisting field offshore Norway and the Bay du Nord project located off the coast of Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada. Under the same agreement, any resulting EPCI execution would be directly awarded to the alliance, if a final investment decision (FID) is made.

John Evans, CEO of Subsea7 commented: “Subsea7 has been collaborating with Equinor for many years to optimise challenging subsea developments ranging from bundle solutions for the Snorre Expansion to the integrated Bacalhau development in Brazil. We look forward to extending and deepening this relationship as we work together to unlock the value in Wisting and Bay du Nord.” 

Furthermore, this deal, which provides a contractual framework for earlier and closer engagement throughout the project cycle to unlock more value from complex projects, has enabled further exploratory work at both projects to recommence with further opportunities also expected to be unlocked in the short to medium term.

Trond Bokn, Senior Vice President for Project Development at Equinor, remarked: “Equinor is working hard to improve and mature the Wisting and Bay du Nord projects. Selecting the supplier at this early stage is a new way of approaching project development for us, and a vote of confidence in Subsea Integration Alliance. We look forward to develop concepts together, in a process with full visibility on profitability, and joint efforts to make these challenging projects sanctionable.” 

This agreement, which builds on OneSubsea and Subsea7’s existing history of working as contractors for the Norwegian energy heavyweight, is said to represent an innovative, integrated way of working, enabling early information sharing, technology innovation, and other collaborative benefits perceived to be critical to bringing forth more subsea projects by making them economically viable.

Mads Hjelmeland, CEO of OneSubsea, highlighted: “Today’s agreement underlines the trusted relationship that we have built over many years and enables us to take our collaboration further by sharing and aligning on goals and values, improving performance and learnings across projects, and unlocking new opportunities to enhance safety, risk management and sustainability results.”

Located in the Hoop area in the Barents Sea, some 310 kilometers north of Hammerfest, the Wisting project lies in water depths between 390-418 meters. Global inflation, and challenges in the energy markets due to the war in Ukraine, pushed Equinor to postpone the investment decision for the project in November 2022, as a result of capacity challenges and bottlenecks among international and Norwegian suppliers.

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With this at the forefront, the Norwegian energy giant decided to mature the development concept further, along with the power-from-shore solution, and consider new supplier models for Wisting, after it announced the members of the Norwegian supplier team it put together for the project’s development.

On the other hand, Bay Du Nord, situated in the Flemish Pass basin approximately 500 km northeast of St John’s in Canada, was put on a shelf for three years in 2023 due to the rise in costs. This move did not end legal battles over the project’s approval, as environmental groups decided to appeal the court’s dismissal of the lawsuit last year.

Equinor’s plan for the development of the Bay du Nord project entails an FPSO vessel, suitable for the tie-back of adjacent discoveries and new prospects. In line with this, Salt Ship Design disclosed in September 2022 that it had designed a hull for a harsh environment FPSO destined for the project.