Photo: Scarabeo 8 rig; Source: Vår Energi

Wintershall Dea embarks on last part of Nova campaign ahead of first oil

Oil and gas company Wintershall Dea has begun the last part of the Nova drilling campaign in the Norwegian North Sea from the Scarabeo 8 semi-submersible rig after originally starting about a year ago, using the West Mira rig.

Saipem’s Scarabeo 8 rig will drill three production wells and three water injection wells through two subsea templates. The Nova field is expected to start production in the second half of 2022, Wintershall Dea has informed. Once online, it will be the fourth subsea field in production for the company.

Nova is a tie-back to the nearby Gjøa platform which will provide water injection and gas lift and receive the hydrocarbons. Gjøa is electrified with power from shore and will also provide electricity to Nova. This contributes to Wintershall Dea’s Energy Transition Pathway and the plan for reaching Scope 1 and 2 net-zero by 2030.

The Nova consortium includes Wintershall Dea as the operator and Sval Energi, Spirit Energy, and ONE-Dyas as project partners. Installation of the subsea equipment is completed and modifications to the Gjøa facility are progressing well, Wintershall Dea said.

“With the subsea scope having been finalised already and a clear focus on the completion of the topside modifications, the production drilling is the last major milestone before production start for the Nova field. Looking ahead, it’s exciting to see the field taking shape, and we look forward to first oil,” said André Hesse, Wintershall Dea Nova Project Director.

Nova is located in the Norwegian North Sea, some 120 km northwest of Bergen and 17 km southwest of Gjøa. Drilling on Nova originally started at the end of October 2020 but was paused following an incident with one of the x-mas trees and the West Mira rig. While lowering a x-mas tree from the West Mira, the winch wire snapped when the tree was five metres below the sea surface. The x-mas tree sunk to the seafloor 368 metres below water level, prompting a halt to drilling operations.

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Before the incident, the West Mira managed to complete the top hole drilling campaign on the Nova field. At first, operations on the Nova field were expected to continue in April 2021.

However, as a result of the incident, the contract for the drilling rig West Mira was terminated in May this year and Wintershall Dea hired the Saipem-owned rig instead. The contract for the Scarabeo 8 also includes options to drill additional Wintershall Dea operated wells.