Field/project development

Equinor, SLB Forge Early-Start Deal for Wisting, Bay du Nord Projects

The agreement puts an early contractual framework in place for closer collaboration sooner on the project pair.

Bay du Nord FPSO.jpg
The Bay du Nord FPSO concept would be designed to handle additional volumes from nearby discoveries.
SOURCE: Equinor

Norwegian operator Equinor selected SLB’s Subsea Integration Alliance, made up of OneSubsea and Subsea7, for a new long-term collaboration agreement for exploratory work to begin on both the Wisting field off Norway and Bay du Nord off Eastern Canada.

The agreement provides a contractual framework for earlier and closer engagement throughout the project cycle, aiming for information sharing and technology innovation to gain more value from complex projects. Work begins immediately with maturation of the subsea scope of the two projects.

“Equinor is working hard to improve and mature the Wisting and Bay du Nord projects,” said Trond Bokn, senior vice president for project development in Equinor. “Selecting the supplier at this early stage is a new way of approaching project development for us, and a vote of confidence to Subsea Integration Alliance. We look forward to developing concepts together, in a process with full visibility on profitability, and joint efforts to make these challenging projects sanctionable.”

Work is expected to begin immediately on early, joint concept studies for the two projects. Under the same agreement, any resulting EPCI execution would be directly awarded to the alliance, if a final investment decision (FID) is made.

Wisting is located in the Barents Sea, offshore Norway. Equinor and its partners originally planned a FID on the project by end 2022 but postponed that decision with new aims to have it done by the end of 2026. The delay decision was made because of global inflation and long lead time for yards and equipment manufacturers.

In November 2022, the time of the postponement, Equinor said the forecast investment to develop Wisting had increased to around $9.5 billion. The field is estimated to hold around 500 million BOE of recoverable reserves.

Bay Du Nord is approximately 500 km northeast of St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada. The project comprises several oil discoveries in the Flemish Pass basin, with the first discovery made by Equinor in 2013, followed by additional discoveries in 2014, 2016, and 2020.

In May 2023, following changing market conditions and higher inflation, Equinor and partner BP made the decision to postpone the development project up to 3 years.

The partners had been reviewing the use of a floating production, storage, and offloading unit to develop the field, which also is a suitable solution for tieback of adjacent discoveries Cappahayden and Cambriol.