WITH one exploration well about to start, another in progress and an extensive seismic survey about to kick off, activity in the Norwegian sector of the Barents Sea is hotting up.
The latest company to get the green light to drill from the Norwegian Petroleum Safety Authority is DONG of Denmark.
The company is to use the sixth generation semi-submersible rig Aker Barents to drill what it describes as the “high-impact” Zapffe prospect (combined Tau East and Ypsilon) on block 7121/9.
DONG has said that well 7121/9-1, is to be drilled at a site about 90km (55 miles) north-west of Hammerfest in 310m of water.
Zapffe is a lower Cretaceous and Upper Jurassic “pinch-out” structure located near the Goliat oilfield, which is currently being developed by Italian company Eni. The new prospect is estimated to contain up to 170million barrels oil equivalent.
Drilling is due to start this month and is expected to last for about 53 days.
DONG is the operator of block 7121/9 and the exploration well with 40% interests in partnership with North Energy (30%), Front Exploration (20%), and Valiant (via Sagex) with 10%.
Further advanced with its programme is GDF Suez, which has started drilling the Helio exploration well, 7124/4-1S&A.
The Helio well was spudded on September 16, using the semi-submersible Aker Barents. The plan is to drill to a total measured depth of 2,730m (8,957ft), with an anticipated completion next month.
This is the French company’s first operated exploration well in the Barents Sea. It is being drilled at a site 100km north of Hammerfest, Norway, and some 70km north-east of the Goliat field. This is the first well to be drilled within this licence area.
GDF Suez has established a strong presence in the Norwegian part of the Barents Sea. It was awarded an additional three operatorships in the region during the 21st Norwegian offshore licensing round.
Indeed this company now holds the largest number of operatorships after Statoil, and it ranks as foreign company awarded the most operatorships in the round.
GDF Suez operates block 7124/4, PL530, and the Heilo exploration well with a 30% interest. Others involved comprise: North Energy, holding 20%, Front Exploration, with 20%, Rocksource with 20%, and Repsol with 10%.
Meantime, Dolphin Geophysical and TGS Nopec Geophysical have entered into an agreement to acquire additional 3D seismic data over the Norwegian sector of the Barents Sea.
Dolphin said that the two companies are extending the contract for the M/V Polar Duke to acquire an additional 1,500sq km of 3D seismic as a follow-up to their successful Barents Sea data acquisition for TGS carried out to date.
The shoot will be carried out using a set of 10×6,000m towed streamers spread 75m apart, as was the case in the previous Hoop Fault Complex acquisition concluded in August.
Dolphin said too that the increase in available data over the area will meet the increased demand for seismic from the region.