Equinor has made an oil discovery with the Sputnik exploration well in the Barents Sea.
Recoverable resources are preliminarily estimated at 20-65 million barrels of oil.
The Sputnik well was drilled in licence PL855, approximately 30 kilometres North East of the Wisting discovery.
Nick Ashton, Equinor’s senior vice president for exploration in Norway and the UK, said: “We are encouraged by this result as it confirms the presence of oil north of the Wisting discovery, where Equinor has acquired a strong acreage position.
“The geology in the Barents Sea is complex, and more work lies ahead to determine commerciality. But this discovery shows that persistence and our ability to learn from previous well results does pay off.”
The Sputnik well (7324/6-1) was drilled to a vertical depth of 1569 metres below the seabed by semi-submersible drilling rig West Hercules, which has now moved on to drill the Equinor operated Lanterna well in PL796 in the Norwegian Sea.
Equinor is operator and holds 55% of the PL855 licence. Partners are OMV (25%) and Petoro (20%).
Jamie Thompson, an analyst with Wood Mackenzie’s North Sea upstream team, said: “Despite being small and remote – it lies more than 300 kilometres from shore in the northern Hoop area of the Barents Sea – Sputnik has a high chance of commerciality.
“The aptly-named field could be a satellite of the pre-FID 440 million-barrel Wisting development, which is just 30 kilometres from Sputnik.
“We expect Wisting to reach FID in 2022, with first oil in 2026. If it progresses to plan, Sputnik could start up towards the end of the decade when Wisting comes off plateau.”
He said: “The potential commerciality of Sputnik provides a much-needed boost to Barents exploration and highlights the importance of developing new infrastructure in this emerging basin.
“Equinor (55%, operator) and partners OMV (25%) and Petoro (20%) will be encouraged by proving further oil in an area where they hold strong acreage positions.”