Photo: Halfdan hub; Source: Noreco

TotalEnergies embarking on North Sea infill drilling campaign with Shelf Drilling rig

French energy giant TotalEnergies has greenlighted the two-well infill drilling programme in the Danish North Sea to ramp up gas production from 2023 amid the current energy crisis.

One of TotalEnergies’ partners in the project, Norwegian Energy Company (Noreco), revealed on Friday that the final investment decision (FID) on two infill wells has been made by the operator of the Danish Underground Consortium (the DUC), TotalEnergies. The consortium’s third partner is Denmark’s Nordsøfonden.

Noreco further confirmed that the first of these two wells to be drilled at the Tor reservoir in the Halfdan North East area – located in the central part of the Danish North Sea – is expected to be spudded by the jack-up Shelf Drilling Winner (former Noble Sam Turner) rig in the early spring of 2023

Noble Sam Turner; Source: Noble Corp.

Furthermore, these wells are expected to increase gas production from the Halfdan field, with plateau production expected during autumn 2023. The first well is anticipated to have an initial production rate of 3 mboe/day net to Noreco where approximately 75 per cent is gas. The expected gain from the infill wells is approximately 2.9 mmboe net to Noreco, of which around 50 per cent is gas.

Moreover, the total cost net to Noreco is $39 million, implying a total unit development cost of approximately $13 per barrel of oil equivalent. Based on expected reserves and forward curves of Brent and TTF from November 2022, the forecast IRR is above 200 per cent with a payback period of about six months, “making the infill wells highly attractive from an economic and strategic perspective,” highlighted the company.

Marianne Eide, Chief Operating Officer of Noreco, remarked: “I am delighted to announce this significant milestone for the Danish Underground Consortium (the DUC) where we have not had drilling activity since 2019. It has never been a better time to invest in further drilling and field development activities to ensure that the recovery from the DUC fields is maximised.

“Several highly economic opportunities are currently being matured and this is the first of many investment decisions to be made, in line with Noreco’s objective to maximise gas output in the short-, medium- and long-term.

The Halfdan and Halfdan North East developments are part of the Halfdan hub. Halfdan, “the largest producing field in Denmark,” was discovered in 1998, brought on stream in 1999 and Halfdan NE in 2004.

Halfdan NE is a development of the gas accumulation in the Ekofisk formation to the North East of the Halfdan field, while the main field produces oil and gas from the Tor Chalk reservoir. The Halfdan main oil accumulation is contiguous with the Dan accumulation.

Halfdan consists of 2 main groups of platforms, Halfdan A and Halfdan B in addition to an unmanned wellhead platform, Halfdan CA (North East). The oil produced from this project is transported via a pipeline to Gorm while the gas is transported to Tyra West. Gas can also be imported (for injection) and exported to Dan.

Regarding TotalEnergies’ other activities in the Danish North Sea, it is worth noting that the Tyra II redevelopment project’s installation campaign was nearing completion in October 2022.

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With this out of the way, the hook-up and commissioning team will focus on completing and powering up the installed platforms and reconnecting them to the existing North Sea infrastructure. That will be the last phase before delivering the first gas from Tyra II in the winter season of 2023/24.

Once the modernized Tyra II is back on stream, it is expected to deliver 2.8 billion cubic meter gas per year, which amounts to 80 per cent of the forecasted Danish gas production.