Statoil made two oil discoveries in the Bay du Nord area during its 19-month exploration drilling program offshore Newfoundland, which the company is estimating the finds to possibly be in the lower end of the anticipated volume range.
Map from Statoil.
In total, nine wells were drilled using Seadrill’s West Hercules semisubmersible during Statoil’s quest to increase the robustness of the Bay du Nord project and to test new areas of the Flemish Pass Basin.
Flemish Pass, located approximately 500km east of St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador, has resulted in an improved understanding of the area’s frontier for the Norwegian giant.
Statoil encountered the two discoveries at the Bay de Verde and Baccalieu prospects, both of which add to the resource base for a potential development at the Bay du Nord discovery.
The appraisal and near-field exploration of the Bay du Nord discovery has reduced key reservoir uncertainties and confirmed that the volumes are within the original volume range of the 300-600 MMbbl of recoverable oil initially estimated by Statoil in 2013, but potentially towards the lower end of the range, the company said.
“We are encouraged by the discoveries in the Bay de Verde and Baccalieu wells and the results of the appraisal wells,” said Erling Vågnes, senior vice president, Statoil Exploration, Northern Hemisphere. “Based on the improved understanding of the Flemish Pass Basin petroleum system, we are maturing further prospects that may add volumes to Bay du Nord.”
The 19-month drilling program, conducted conducted in a harsh offshore environment, included four exploration wells near the 2013 Bay du Nord discovery, as well as three appraisal wells on the discovery. In addition, two exploration wells were drilled in areas outside the Bay du Nord discovery.
“The Flemish Pass Basin offshore Newfoundland is a frontier area, where only 17 wells have been drilled in the entire basin – in an area that is 30,000sq km,” said Vågnes. “This drilling campaign has been critical both to maturing the Bay du Nord discovery as well as evolving our knowledge of the greater basin and Newfoundland offshore – which remains a core exploration area for Statoil.”
The drilling program, which began in November 2014, was extended by one month to incorporate the drilling of Baccalieu, a well on a license awarded by the C-NLOPB in the 2015 land sale, that Statoil was able to progress from access to well-completion in four months.
Statoil said its assessment of the commercial potential of the Bay du Nord discovery is ongoing.
“The recent drilling program has been critical to Statoil’s continued assessment of Bay du Nord, and work is underway to evaluate the results related to proceeding with a potential Statoil-operated development in the Flemish Pass Basin,” said Paul Fulton, president, Statoil Canada.
Late last month, Statoil decided to cancel its contract with Seadrill for the West Hercules, due to the postponement of the Aasta Hansteen drilling campaign from 1 July 2016, to 2H 2018.