West Mira rig - Wintershall Dea

Wintershall Dea in last phase of Nova project as drilling operations start

Oil and gas company Wintershall Dea has started drilling the first of six wells on the operated Nova field in the Norwegian North Sea.

West Mira rig; Source: Wintershall Dea; Credit: Seadrill

With most of the subsea work already complete and a dedicated module installed on the host platform, Gjøa, the start of drilling represents the beginning of the final major packet of work in the development of the Nova field, Wintershall Dea explained on Tuesday.

To remind, the Nova subsea campaign started in May 2020 and it was completed in early September following the installation of the risers on the field.

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Scheduled to be on site for around 400 days, Wintershall Dea said that the West Mira rig will drill three production wells through one of two subsea templates, and three water injection wells, through the second.

The start of drilling caps off a series of landmarks for the development since installation season began in March.

In May, the manifolds were installed ahead of schedule. Then the topside module was installed on to the Neptune Energy-operated Gjøa platform in preparation for receiving oil and associated gas from the Nova field.

This summer the risers, which connect the pipelines to the platform were also put in place.

“Despite developing this field at a time of almost unprecedented challenges from the Covid-19 outbreak, all involved have worked tirelessly as One Team to safely deliver the Nova milestones according to plan. Getting the rig into placemarks the start of the last phase for the Nova project”, said André Hesse, Nova Project Director at Wintershall Dea.

The Seadrill-operated West Mira rig has been equipped with an energy-saving hybrid battery power plant, lowering emissions. As a subsea tie-back to existing platform Gjøa, the Nova field also sustainably benefits from in-place infrastructure, with no need for a major new facility.

When it comes on stream in 2022, Nova will be the company’s fourth subsea field in production.

First oil is unlikely in 2021, as earlier forecasted, due to the impact of Covid-19 on the topside part of the project.

Alv Bjørn Solheim, Wintershall Dea Norge Managing Director, said: “In regions rich in infrastructure like the North Sea, it makes sense to engineer fields so they can take advantage of facilities that already exists in the area. We are strong believers in delivering our projects sustainably while also delivering value for our partners, our investors, and for the whole of Norway”.