Polish state-controlled oil and gas company PGNiG said its unit PGNiG Upstream Norway started drilling an exploration well in licence area PL838 (the Shrek prospect) on the Norwegian Continental Shelf, for the first time in the role of the operator.
It is the first exploration well in this licence area, located in the vicinity of the Skarv oil and gas field, in which PGNiG holds a 12% interest, said the subsidiary of Polish Oil and Gas Company.
"The main objective of our operations in Norway is to scale up our own production of gas in the region. Now we also have the opportunity to develop our competences and expertise as an operator, which proves the trust our Norwegian partners place in PGNiG," said Piotr Woźniak, President of the PGNiG S.A. Management Board.
"The Norwegian Continental Shelf is a rather challenging area, but we are very well prepared to handle this task," he added.
The sea at the location of the well is 358 meters deep. The Shrek prospect is located at a depth of approximately 2,300 meters from the seabed.
The estimated duration of the drilling work depends on the results that will be obtained. It will take approximately 45 days if hydrocarbons are discovered, in which case the Company also plans to drill a sidetrack, collect the cores and carry out detailed geophysical measurements.
The well is drilled using Deepsea Nordkapp, a 6th generation semi-submersible rig, one of the most advanced rigs capable of work in extreme offshore conditions. Almost all drilling operations on the rig are computer-controlled.
"Preparatory procedures for the drilling of an offshore well were extremely complex and different from what we do when drilling onshore wells, as they require much more effort in terms of planning itself. Ensuring safety of work involving risks that are not found on land, such as heavy storms, plays a vital role, too. Drilling operations at the open sea, often carried out in extreme weather conditions far from the shore, are definitely more challenging," said Piotr Woźniak.
The start of the drilling work on the Shrek prospect was preceded by a detailed audit at PGNiG Upstream Norway, carried out by the Petroleum Safety Authority, a Norwegian governmental supervisory authority responsible for safety of the working environment and emergency preparedness in petroleum-industry activities on the Norwegian Continental Shelf, following which the well was approved for drilling.