This rig drilled Norway’s first offshore well, and made the country’s first oil discovery

  • Exploration & Production
This rig drilled Norway’s first offshore well, and made the country’s first oil discovery
Image source: Norwegian Oil and Gas Association

The drilling rig shown above was the first unit to have drilled for oil on the Norwegian continental shelf, and the first to discover oil, however, not in one attempt.

Conveniently named the Ocean Traveler, the rig had traveled across the Atlantic for 52 days on a 13.000 kilometers-long voyage from Louisiana U.S.A. before it reached Norway in June 1966.

Operated by ExxonMobil’s Esso, the drilling rig spudded Norway’s first offshore well – 8/3-1 – on July 19, 1966.

However, after days of drilling the well using the ODECO owned drilling unit, Esso said the well was dry.

Not long after, a little less than a year, on July 9, 1967, Esso made it. The company struck oil at the 25/11-1 well, in license 001, 190 km west of Stavanger, using the same drilling rig.

While the well was the first discovery on the NCS, the volumes discovered were deemed non-commercial. However non-commercial, the well made history, and marked the start of Norway’s oil and gas bonanza.

Also, it would later turn out that well hadn’t been such a failure after all, as it had struck the eastern extension of the Balder field, developed by Exxon more than 30 years later in 1999. The field is expected to remain in production until 2025.

Offshore Energy Today Staff

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