Equinor’s Wildcats Score Big Find on Mature Norwegian Shelf Acreage

The Norwegian Petroleum Directorate and Equinor have announced the biggest discovery so far this year on the Norwegian Continental Shelf. Three wildcat wells drilled in the Blasto prospect near the Fram field confirmed the find and were then permanently plugged and abandoned.

Map of the Blasto discovery area. <br/><br/>
Source: Equinor.

The Norwegian Petroleum Directorate (NPD) on Wednesday announced the biggest discovery yet this year on the Norwegian Continental Shelf, after project operator, Equinor Energy AS, and partners Vår Energi, Idemitsu Petroleum, and Neptune Energy completed the drilling of two wildcat wells.

The wildcats, wells 31/2-22 S and 31/2-22 A, in the Blasto prospect were drilled about 3 km southwest of the Fram field, 11 km northwest of the Troll field, and 120 km northwest of Bergen.

Preliminary estimates place the size of the discovery at 75–120 million barrels of recoverable oil equivalent.

“The discovery revitalizes one of the most mature areas on the Norwegian Continental Shelf. With discoveries in four of four prospects in the Fram area during the past 18 months, we have proven volumes that in total will create considerable value for society,” says Nick Ashton, Equinor’s senior vice president for exploration in Norway.

The three exploration wells were drilled under production licenses 090, 090-I, and 090-E, according to NPD.

“Blasto is the first of two exploration wells we will drill in the Fram area this year, and fits with our strategy for exploration close to our existing infrastructure,” Neptune Energy’s managing director in Norway, Odin Estensen, said.

"These are important resources which can be brought into production quickly. It’s also a strategically important discovery for Neptune and underlines our commitment to continue growing our business in the Norwegian sector. In the last 15 months, we have participated in five exploration wells, and four of these have resulted in discoveries.”

Exploration well 31/2-22-S struck a total oil column of around 30 m in the upper part of the Sognefjord formation and an oil column of around 50 m in the lower part of the formation. The oil/water contacts were proven at 1,860 and 1,960 m, respectively, according to Equinor’s press service.

Exploration well 31/2-22-A struck high-quality sandstone in the Sognefjord formation, but the reservoir is filled with water and the well is classified as dry.

Regarding the discovery to be commercially viable, the licensees will consider tying it to other discoveries and existing infrastructure in the area.

The wells were not formation tested, but extensive data acquisition and sampling have been carried out.

While specifics of the data acquired was not mentioned, it is likely that Equinor applied a reservoir-fluid-identification technology it developed in-house. Based on machine learning, the system predicts the gas/oil ratio (GOR) of rock based on data acquired while drilling in real time.

Equinor presented a technical paper (SPE 201323) about the new digital technology at the SPE Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition in October.

Two of the wildcats are the first and second exploration wells in production license 090-I. The license was awarded in the 2017 awards in predefined areas (APA 2017) licensing round.

The third, well 31/2-22-S, was drilled to a vertical depth of 2,282 m below sea level and a measured depth of 2,379 m below sea level. Well 31/2-22-A was drilled to a vertical depth of 2,035 m below sea level and a measured depth of 2,207 m below sea level.

Water depth in the area is 349 m. The wells have been permanently plugged and abandoned.

The wells were drilled by Seadrill’s West Hercules, a 6th-generation ultradeepwater semisubmersible drilling rig, which is now proceeding to drill exploration 34/6-5 S in production license 554 in the northern North Sea sector.