As BarentsObserver reported, Statoil had planned to start drilling two or three wells in the Hoop frontier exploration area this summer. This would not only be the northernmost drilling ever on the Norwegian continental shelf, but also the world’s northernmost oil drilling at sea.
The company has now changed its plans and postponed the Hoop area project to next year. The reason for this is delays in preparations and winterization of the with the West Hercules exploration rig, which was supposed to go to the Hoop area after completing drilling at the Skrugard field.
“Our drilling plans are subject to continual reviews where we consider what is optimal. We now plan to drill four wells at Skrugard. We’ll then be drilling one in the Hammerfest Basin before starting in the Hoop area. This means we’ll first be going there [to Hoop] around this time next year,” Statoil press spokesman Ola Anders Skauby tells Stavanger Aftenblad.
Statoil plans to drill the prospects Nunatak, Iskrystall, Skavl, and Kramsnø back-to-back. All these are located in the immediate vicinity of Skrugard and Havis, meaning a discovery there can take advantage of the infrastructure that is planned to be built.
Greenpeace boarded rig Last week two Greenpeace representatives entered the West Hercules rig to demonstrate against Statoil’s drilling in the Barents Sea.
Two polar bear costume-clad environmental activists, including Greenpeace leader Truls Gulowsen, climbed up one of the legs of the rig at western Norway’s Ølen yard.
Greenpeace believes there are considerably excessively safety challenges involved in Arctic oil drilling. “Extreme weather conditions and the risk of equipment icing up mean drilling in the Arctic cannot be compared with activities in the North Sea,” Erlend Tellnes, head of Greenpeace Norway’s Arctic campaign, told Stavanger Aftenblad.
MURMANSK: Ecological groups gathered on Kola Peninsula fear that Barents nature will be the looser after Oslo decided to call off the environmental minister’s Moscow meeting in response to Russia’s annexation of Crimea.
TROMSØ: Since the first five specimens of snow crab were found in the Barents Sea in 1996, the population has exploded. There is now ten times as much snow crab than king crab in the area, and scientists are just starting to find out how this new species has adopted to life in the Barents Sea.
The current situation in Ukraine makes cross-border cooperation with the neighboring countries even more important, Barents Secretariat leader Rune Rafaelsen says. At the same time, Norway has joined NATO’s condemnation of Russia’s military escalation on the Crimea peninsula.
Board member Amund Trellevik in the press network fears entry-denial of Kremlin’s controversial propaganda-journalist Dmitry Kiselyov could be retaliated by refusing Norwegian journalists access to Russia.