FRENCH energy group Total has made a major gas discovery in the Norwegian sector of the Barents Sea on block 7225/3, some 250km north of the coastal town of Melkoya.
Early indications that Total was on to something big emerged in June, when one of the company’s partners on the project decided to go public.
Now the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate (NPD) has confirmed the Norvarg discovery.
The initial reserve estimate lies between 353.1billion and 1.76trillion cu ft of natural gas. This is based on one well drilled and seismic data.
The NPD said that Total, operator of block 7225/3, had successfully completed the drilling of the 7225/3-1 wildcat well, using the semi-submersible drilling rig West Phoenix and proven the gas discovery.
The department said that the primary exploration objective of the well was to prove petroleum in Triassic reservoir rocks (Snadd and Kobbe formations).
The secondary targets were the Middle Jurassic (Sto formation), Triassic (Havert formation) and Permian (Bjarmeland formation).
Gas was proven in intervals from the Jurassic and the Triassic: in the Kobbe formation with a 400m (1,300ft) interval in rocks of varying reservoir quality, and in the Havert formation in two intervals of 80m and 90m respectively in poorly developed reservoir rocks.
Gas was also encountered in the Sto and Snadd formations.
A successful formation test has been carried out in the upper part of the Kobbe formation.
The maximum production rate was 6.35million cu ft per day through a 44/64in nozzle.
The gas contains only small amounts of carbon dioxide, hydrogen sulphide and nitrogen.
According to the NPD, the results from the well will be included in the ongoing evaluation of Norvarg to establish the size and extent of the gas discoveries.
The discovery well was drilled in 376m of water to a vertical depth of 4,150m (13,616ft) below the sea’s surface.
It was terminated in the Orn formation in Permian rocks. The well will now be permanently plugged and abandoned.
Total is already a major player in the Barents Sea with interests in the Snøhvit gas and condensate field operated by Statoil, the Melkøya LNG facility, and the Shtokman discovery on the Russian side of the Barents.
Total is the operator of PL535, block 7225/3, and the Norvarg exploration well, with a 40% interest. Partners are DNO, North Energy and Rocksource, each with 20%.