Vaar Energi Plans Barents Exploration Ramp-Up

Program will focus on finding more resources around Goliat and Johan Castberg through 2026.


Eni’s Norwegian subsidiary Vaar Energi plans to increase exploration in the Arctic Barents Sea to boost its oil and gas production in the region.

Vaar operates Goliat, the only producing oil field in the Barents Sea, and is a partner in Equinor’s project to develop the Johan Castberg oil field, which is expected to start producing at the end of 2024.

Vaar said the drilling program in the Barents Sea will focus on finding more resources around the two fields over the period 2024–2026.

Vaar said it hired China Oilfield Services’ COSLProspector offshore drilling rig for the drilling program in the Arctic, in cooperation with Norway’s Equinor.

In a separate statement, Equinor said it had awarded COSL contracts for two more rigs, COSLPromoter and COSLInnovator, to drill exploration and production wells. The contracts were valued at around $369 million for both firm periods.

The COSLPromoter is already contracted to Equinor and will begin on the new contract in the first quarter of 2025. The firm’s contract is for 1 year, with options for a further 4 years. The COSLInnovator is contracted for 2 years, starting in the second quarter of 2025, and the contract includes options for a further 3 years.