Oil exploration firm Aker BP (OSLO: AKRBP) has been given the go ahead to spud a pilot well in the Norwegian North Sea.
The Petroleum Safety Authority (PSA) Norway has consented to three days of exploration drilling at the 028B production licence.
Aker BP, a joint venture between supermajor BP and Norwegian investment company Aker, will use Odfjell Drilling’s Deepsea Nordkapp rig to carry out the work.
The primary objective of the operation is to verify that the planned drilled sites for the Hanz development wells are free of shallow gas and water hazards.
As operator Aker BP, alongside licence partners Equinor and Spirit Energy, affirmed the investment decision for development of the Hanz discovery late last year.
Current plans for the field involve reusing existing infrastructure, strengthening the “project economics” and minimising its environmental footprint.
With total reserves of around 20 million barrels of oil equivalent (mmboe), Hanz will be tied into the Ivar Aasen platform, around seven miles south of the field.
Total investments are estimated at NOK 3.3 billion (£277 million) and the project is expected start-up in the first half of 2024.
The pair sold 18,010,000 Aker BP shares at a price of NOK 310 per share (£26.76).
Following the sale, BP now holds an approximate 27.85% interest in Aker BP, while Aker holds 37.14%.
The free float of the company has increased to 35%.
Commenting prior to the sale, BP chief executive Bernard Looney said: “Aker BP has established itself as an undoubted Norwegian success story, with its value increasing significantly over the past five years.
“This transaction will enable BP to realise some of the considerable value Aker BP has already generated while remaining committed to its ongoing success and value creation for shareholders.