Equinor Announces New Barents Sea Oil Discovery, Reaches FID on Group of Gas and Condensate Wells
The Barents Sea is the gift that keeps on giving for Equnior which has made its 10th sizeable discovery within the same license area.
Found about 3 miles from the southern edge of its giant Johan Castberg field in the Barents Sea, Equinor has made a subsea discovery that holds an estimated 37 to 50 million bbl of recoverable oil.
Equinor is calling its new Arctic discovery the Snøfonn Nord field and said in its announcement that the field was made exactly 1 year after it found a slightly smaller oil field—the Isflak field—in the same area.
Equinor added that the Snøfonn Nord field marks its tenth discovery in the Castberg license area which it shares with partners. Equinor holds a 50% ownership stake in the project with the remainder held by Vår Energi (30%) and Petoro (20%).
The majority state-owned operator said the latest discovery may be developed with a tieback to its Johan Castberg floating production, storage, and offloading (FPSO) unit that was delivered to a Norwegian shipyard in April. Commissioning is expected to take place sometime this summer after the vessel’s turret and processing systems are installed.
With a mooring depth of around 1,200 ft, the new FPSO will be able to process up to 190,000 B/D from the Johan Castberg field that is believed to hold up to 650 million BOE of proven reserves. It will also process production from two other satellite fields.
There are no immediate plans to develop the new discovery, but Equinor said it is considering using a tieback scheme that would leverage the production infrastructure in place at Johan Castberg.
“Snøfonn Nord is an exciting discovery in the vicinity of the Johan Castberg development and can add valuable volumes to the installation in the future,” Kristin Westvik, a senior vice president for exploration and production with Equinor, said in a statement.
Equinor is now mobilizing the drilling unit that made the discovery to a location about 800 m away where it will drill a new exploration well.
Grouping Gas Wells To Drive Project Economics
In a separate announcement, Equinor said it has reached a final investment decision (FID) valued at around $937 million to develop a series of gas and condensate wells near its Åsgard oil field in the Norwegian Sea.
The company said the new project, called Halten East, includes six “small-size” gas and condensate discoveries that contain an estimated 100 million BOE.
“Finding economically viable development alternatives for each individual project was difficult. In 2020, the licensees in the four licenses therefore agreed to develop the area as a unit,” Equnior said in its announcement.
The approved field development plan calls for a first phase of six wells that are expected to achieve first production by 2025. Gas and condensate will be produced using subsea systems that are to be tied back to the Åsgard field. Equinor is planning a second phase for 2029.
TechnipFMC has been awarded the pipeline and subsea installation contract that is valued at between $135 million to $156 million. A contract with the same value range was awarded to Aker Solutions to supply subsea production systems.
Aker Solutions was also issued a letter of intent to supply Equinor with an umbilical system that may cost up to $41 million.
Equinor will operate Halten East with a 57.7% ownership share. Other partners are Petoro (5.9%), Vår Energi AS (24.60%), and Spirit Energy AS (11,80 %).