Equinor Strikes Oil Near Johan Castberg Field in Barents Sea

March 10, 2021

The Transocean Enabler drilling rig. (Photo: Jan Arne Wold / Woldcam - Equinor ASA)
The Transocean Enabler drilling rig. (Photo: Jan Arne Wold / Woldcam - Equinor ASA)

Equinor and its partners Vår Energi and Petoro have discovered oil at an exploration well near the Johan Castberg development in the Barents Sea.

Recoverable resources at the well - formally known as well 7220/7-4 - in production licence 532 are currently estimated at between 5 and 8 million standard cubic meters of recoverable oil, corresponding to 31 – 50 million barrels of recoverable oil.

"Succeeding in the Barents Sea requires perseverance and a long-term perspective. This discovery strengthens our belief in the opportunities that exist, not least around the Castberg, Wisting, Snøhvit, and Goliat areas,” says Nick Ashton, Equinor’s senior vice president for exploration in Norway.

The well - targeting the Isflak prospect - was drilled about 10 kilometers southwest from the well 7220/8-1 on the Johan Castberg field, and 210 kilometers northwest of Hammerfest. Equinor used the Transocean Enable semi-submersible drilling rig for the operation.

The exploration well 7220/7-4 is the first of four planned exploration wells for Equinor in the Barents Sea this year (as operator or partner).

"Equinor has been developing strong specialist communities for exploration, development and operations in Harstad and Hammerfest over many years. The follow-up of this discovery may strengthen this work,” says Ashton.

The well struck 109 meters of oil in the Stø and Nordmela formations. The top reservoir was encountered at a vertical depth of 1788 meters below sea level. The expected gas cap was not encountered in the well.

"Further development of the discovery towards the planned infrastructure for the Johan Castberg field will be considered at a later stage. The proven resources may thus generate important additional value and tax revenues for society from the Johan Castberg field," Equinor said. The company is looking to develop the Johan Castberg field using a newbuild FPSO.

This is the eleventh exploration well in production licence 532. The licence was awarded in the 20th licensing round in 2009.

The well was drilled to a vertical depth of 2080 meters below sea level and completed in the Tubåen formation from the Early Jurassic period in 351 metres of water. The well has now been permanently plugged and abandoned.

The Transocean Enabler drilling rig, which will now return to and continue drilling on the Equinor-operated Johan Castberg field.



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