Equinor and partners ExxonMobil, Idemitsu and Neptune have discovered oil and gas in exploration well Echino South, 35/11-23, by the Fram field in the North Sea, the Norwegian Energy Company said on Wednesday. Recoverable resources are estimated at 6-16 million standard cubic meters of oil equivalent, corresponding to 38-100 million barrels of oil equivalent, Equinor said.
“We are making one of this year’s biggest discoveries in the most mature area of the Norwegian continental shelf (NCS), not far from the Troll field. This demonstrates the opportunities that still exist for value creation and revenue from this industry,” said Nick Ashton, Equinor’s senior vice president for exploration in Norway and the UK.
Adding considerably to the resources in this part of the North Sea, the discovery will probably be tied back to existing infrastructure. Further knowledge of the area and new data investments have increased our confidence in the exploration opportunities in this part of the northern North Sea.
“After more than 50 years of geological surveys on the NCS, we are still learning something new and finding hydrocarbons where we previously thought there were none. By utilizing existing infrastructure, these resources may be recovered at good profitability and with low CO2 intensity,” Ashton said.
Exploration well 35/11-23, Echino South, was drilled 3.2 kilometers southwest of the Fram field, and 120 kilometers northwest of Bergen. The primary exploration target was to prove petroleum in the upper Jurassic reservoir of the Oxfordian age (Sognefjord formation).
The secondary exploration target in the well was to prove petroleum rocks of the middle Jurassic period (Brent group). Hydrocarbons were proven in both exploration targets. A sidetrack (well 35/11-23 A) is being drilled to delineate the discovery in the Sognefjord formation.
In the primary exploration target, the well encountered two hydrocarbon-bearing sandstone intervals in the Sognefjord Formation. The uppermost interval has a combined oil and gas column of about 25 meters in sandstone with variable reservoir quality from good to extremely good.
The gas/oil contact was encountered, while the oil/water contact was not encountered. The other interval has an oil column of about 15 meters in sandstone with good to very good reservoir quality. The oil/water contact was encountered.
In the secondary exploration target, the well encountered a total oil and gas column of about 35 meters in the Ness and Etive Formations, whereof 30 meters of sandstone with moderate to very good reservoir quality. The gas/oil and oil/water contacts were encountered.
Preliminary estimates place the size of the discovery between 6 and 16 million standard cubic meters (Sm3) of recoverable oil equivalent. The licensees will consider tying the discovery into existing infrastructure in the Troll-Fram area, but an appraisal well will be drilled on the discovery first. There are also indications of hydrocarbons in a five-meter thick sandstone layer in the Viking Group in the Upper Jurassic directly over the Brent Group, which will be studied more closely.
This is the 16th exploration well in production licence 090. The licence was awarded in the 8th licensing round in 1984.
The licensees in production licence 090 are Equinor Energy AS (45%), ExxonMobil Exploration and Production Norway AS (25%), Idemitsu Petroleum Norge AS (15%) and Neptune Energy Norge AS (15%).
The well was not formation tested, however, extensive amounts of data have been acquired. Well 35/11-23 was drilled to a vertical depth of 2,947 meters below sea level and was terminated in the Dunlin Group in the Lower Jurassic. Water depth is 350 meters.
The well will be permanently plugged and abandoned after sidetrack 35/11-23 A has been drilled. The well was drilled by the Deepsea Atlantic drilling rig, which after drilling the sidetrack, will drill production wells on the Askeladd Nord field in production licence 064 in the Barents Sea, where Equinor is the operator.