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Norwegian drillers enjoying success rate of 50%-plus

© Var EnergiLongboat rodhette discovery
The Scarabeo 8 semi-sub rig spudded Rodhette

Westwood Global Energy reports that there were five E&A well programmes active as of June 1.

A further three wells are suspended pending re-entry to either continue drilling or testing.

A total of nine exploration wells have completed to date in 2021, from which five commercial discoveries have been made with total resources of c. 330 mmboe, giving a 56% commercial success rate to date.

North Sea

MOL spudded the Iving appraisal well with the Transocean Barents semi-submersible on May 13. The well is appraising the Iving Evra discovery drilled in 2019-20. Partner Lundin quotes resources of 20-71 mmboe and a development is being fast tracked to take advantage of tax breaks.

On the April 29, Equinor spudded the Apodida well with the Deepsea Atlantic semi-submersible in the Fram area. The well was sidetracked on 15 May. A successful discovery will likely be tied back to the Troll C platform via the Fram template.

Equinor and Total spudded the Stovegolvet exploration well on April 20 with Deepsea Atlantic. The top hole for the well was drilled and the well suspended whilst the rig is drilling Apodida. A discovery would need to be large enough for a standalone development but could open up the basin for further exploration.

On April 15 Var Energi spudded its first operated exploration well in Norway, targeting the King prospect and the Prince prospect with a sidetrack. The initial well was sidetracked as planned on May 11 and again on May 29. Operations are ongoing. The well is being drilled with the Scarabeo 8 semi-submersible and in the success case a discovery will be developed via the nearby Balder or Jotun field FPSOs.

The Ilder well was spudded on March 29 by Harbour Energy with the COSL Innovator rig. The well was subsequently announced as a dry hole and was completed on May 13.

Operations are continuing at Equinor’s Garantiana West exploration well with the West Hercules semi-submersible. The well has an expected dry hole duration of 60 days but has now been active for over 70 days, having spudded on March 18, suggesting either mechanical issues or a discovery. In the success case a discovery is expected to be incorporated into a development of Garantiana via nearby infrastructure. Upon completion, the rig is expected to move to the UK to drill the Tiger Lily prospect for Equinor.

Aker BP’s Liatarnet appraisal well that was spudded March 23 with the Deepsea Nordkapp was temporarily suspended on March 28 when the rig mobilised to the Barents Sea to drill two wells. The rig will return in the summer to complete this well.

The Dugong appraisal well, operated by Neptune, is also suspended having spudded on February 27 and temporarily pugged on March 31. Resources in Dugong are now estimated in the range 40-108 mmboe. The well will be re-entered later in 2021 for testing.

Norwegian Sea

It was announced in May that Wintershall DEA’s Dvalin North exploration well was successful in making a discovery. The well was spudded February 20 with the Deepsea Aberdeen and completed on May 19. The total resource range of 71-157 mmboe gives a midpoint of 114 mmboe, making this the largest NCS discovery to date in 2021. The discovery is of a similar size to the nearby Dvalin field, via which it is expected to be developed.

Barents Sea

In the Barents Sea, Equinor’s high impact Shenzhou exploration well was unsuccessful in finding hydrocarbons. The well spudded on April 9, with pre-drill mid-case resources in excess of 300 mmboe.

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