Statoil increases Barents-drilling
Will drill nine wells during a 2013 non-stop exploration campaign in the Barents Sea and triples its Arctic technology research budget.
Norwegian oil and gas major Statoil wants a leading role in future Arctic drilling. Triggered by last year’s two Barents Sea discoveries at the Skrugard and Havis fields, the firm now presents nine more wells to be test-drilled next year.
"After our Skrugard and Havis discoveries we still see attractive opportunities here," says Statoil Exploration executive vice president Tim Dodson.
Statoil's exploration experience in the Barents is already extensive. Of the 94 exploration wells drilled in the Norwegian Barents Sea so far, Statoil has been involved in 89.
"This is a less challenging area, as the Norwegian Barents is one of the only Arctic areas with a year-round ice-free zone. We also see the possibility of utilising knowledge gained here for Arctic prospects elsewhere later on – just like we've already done with Snøhvit," says Tim Dodson.
With production start in 2007, Snøhvit natural gas field became the first in operation in the Barents Sea.
Among the fields Statoil announces to drill in 2013 is four wells at Nunatak, near Skrugard. The drilling here will start in December this year and continue over a six-month period, Statoil informs.
World’s northernmost offshore drilling
After Nunatak, the drilling will continue in the summer with two or three wells in the Hoop frontier exploration area. These wells will not only be the northernmost drilling ever on the Norwegian continental shelf, but also the world’s northernmost oil drilling at sea.
The 2013 Barents drilling campaign finishes in the most mature province of the Barents: the Hammerfest basin, just north of Finnmark County in northern Norway. Statoil will carry out growth exploration close to the existing Snøhvit gas field and Goliat oil field.
"We've secured a five-year contract for Seadrill's West Hercules drilling rig. The rig is currently being prepared for Arctic conditions, and can be used to drill consecutively in the region for years to come," Dodson says.
Teams up with Rosneft
Earlier this year, Statoil and Russian oil major Rosneft signed a landmark agreement for joint development of potential fields in the north western corner of the Russian sector of the Barents Sea. The Perseyevsky field located between Svalbard and Franz Josef’s Land is one of several promising fields for the two partners.
While Statoil has drilled 89 wells in the Barents Sea, Rosneft has no offshore experience.
Tripling Arctic research budget
In addition to boost drilling in the Barents Sea, Statoil increases its Arctic research budget from NOK 80 million (€11 million) in 2012 to NOK 250 million (€34 million) in 2013.
Some of the technology highlights include work to allow for cost-effective 3D seismic for exploration prospect evaluation in ice, and the continuing development of a tailor-made, Arctic drill unit, Statoil informs.
The work on the future drilling unit is based on Statoil's experience with developing specialized category rigs for the Norwegian continental shelf. The unit will be one that can operate in a wide range of water depths across the Arctic, and will involve integrated operations in drifting ice.