Norwegian exploration veers north

Frontier drilling is picking up offshore Norway, according to the latest review by the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate (NPD).

Offshore staff

OSLO, Norway -- Frontier drilling is picking up offshore Norway, according to the latest review by the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate (NPD).

Shell is active in production license 326 in the Norwegian Sea, drilling appraisal well 6604/10-1 on last year’s Gro discovery, in 1,354 m (4,442 ft) of water. The well should reach the reservoir some time this month.

On completion, Shell plans to retain the semisubAker Barents to spud the Dalsnuten prospect in the same deepwater area in PL 392.

Elsewhere in the Norwegian Sea, Wintershall and RWE DEA Norge have been drilling two wildcats in the Åsgard area.

NPD counts four exploration wells in progress in the North Sea. Among these, the Statoil-operated 15/3-9 is probing the Brynhild prospect in PL 187, close to the Gudrun field, and should soon reach the reservoir. The exploration targets are in Jurassic rock.

ConocoPhillips is drilling wildcat 8/10-3 well just north of the Ekofisk area on the Megeladon prospect at a subsurface depth of 5,340 m (17,519 ft). Operations here are due to be completed in December. The result, NPD says, could impact future activity on deep-lying exploration targets in the southern North Sea.

West of Ula, BG Norge is completing well 1/3-12 S in the Mandarin prospect. This is the deepest well ever drilled on the Norwegian shelf – more than 5,900 m (19,357 ft) deep - although the outcome may have been a dry hole.

Although there has been no exploration activity this year in the Barents Sea, the semisub Polar Pioneer will start a campaign in the northern sector in October. The first well, operated by Statoil, will be on the Skrugard prospect, west of Lopphøgda, in PL 532.

Eni Norge then will drill two wells, one in the Alke area in PL 489, awarded under the APA 2008 licensing round; and one in PL 533 west of Lopphøgda, a 20th Round award.

NPD adds that its earlier forecast of 40-50 exploration wells spuds throughout 2010 appears to be on track, although drilling programs have not been coming through at the same pace as last year. This appears to be mainly down to Statoil scaling back on exploration activity.

As for plans for development and operation (PDO), NPD says it received four submissions during the first half of 2010, and it expects that two or three more over the remainder of the year.

Statoil may present a PDO for 34/10-23 Valemon in the North Sea this fall, based on a platform, with the gas exported to the Heimdal complex and the liquids sent to Mongstad via the Kvitebjørn facilities.

Det norske oljeselskap could submit a plan for re-development of the decommissioned Frøy field, again in the fall. The partners are reviewing several types of leased production facilities, NPD says. A PDO was submitted in 2008, but the project had to be postponed due to global financial crisis.

BG may deliver a PDO for the Bream and Jordbær oil discoveries at the end of 2010. NPD says development will probably involve two leased facilities for each field. And, Lundin may submit a PDO for Nemo in the North Sea, which could be a subsea development connected to the Pierce field on the UK side of the North Sea median line.


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