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Var Energi has confirmed a discovery at its King and Prince exploration wells in the Balder area in the Southern North Sea. Success at the combined King and Prince exploration wells lifts preliminary estimates of recoverable oil equivalents between 60 and 135 million bbl. King/Prince was drilled in PL 027 by semisubmersible rig Scarabeo 8. The Prince well encountered an oil column of about 35 m in the Triassic Skagerrak formation within good to moderate reservoir sandstones, while the King well discovered a gas column of about 30 m and a light oil column of about 55 m with some thick Paleogene sandstone. An additional King appraisal sidetrack further confirmed a 40-m gas column and an oil column of about 55 m of which about 35 m are formed by thick and massive oil-bearing sandstone with excellent reservoir quality.
Equinor struck oil in Production License 554 with a pair of wells at its Garantiana West prospect. Exploration wells 34/6‑5 S and 34/6-5 ST2 were drilled some 10 km north-east of the Visund field, with the former encountering a total oil column of 86 m in the Cook formation. The latter well encountered sandstones in the Nansen formation, but did not encounter commercial hydrocarbons. Recoverable resources are estimated at between 8 and 23 million BOE. "This is the first Equinor-operated well in the production license, and the fifth discovery on the Norwegian continental shelf this year," said Rune Nedregaard, senior vice president, exploration and production south. "The discovery is in line with our roadmap of exploring near existing infrastructure in order to increase the commerciality."
Interwell tracer tests are widely used. This article reviews some of the studies reported in open literature. The selection introduces different problems that have been addressed, but the original papers should be studied to obtain a more detailed description of the programs. The Snorre field is a giant oil reservoir (sandstone) in the Norwegian sector of the North Sea. Injection water and gas were monitored with tracers, 18 and the resulting tracer measurements are discussed in this page.
The jackup-type mobile offshore drilling unit (MODU) has become the premier bottom-founded drilling unit, displacing submersibles and most platform units. The primary advantage of the jackup design is that it offers a steady and relatively motion-free platform in the drilling position and mobilizes relatively quickly and easily. Although they originally were designed to operate in very shallow water, some newer units, such as the "ultra-harsh environment" Maersk MSC C170-150 MC, are huge (Figure 1) and can be operated in 550 ft in the GOM. This type of unit can be commercially competitive only in the North Sea and in very special situations. Figure 1--Maersk's giant jackup (largest in the world) designed for deepwater use (550 ft in the GOM) and harsh North Sea environment.
Nearly 150 workers have been evacuated or are due for evacuation from Shell's Shearwater project in the North Sea since a COVID-19 outbreak emerged at the end of June, the company said on 20 July, as the industry called for an exemption from self-isolation rules for offshore workers. So far, 26 people at the Shearwater oil and gas hub have tested positive for COVID-19, with another 122 categorized as having been "close contacts" of those infected, Shell told S&P Global Platts. Most have already been flown to shore, with a small number isolating at the facility before returning to shore, Shell said, adding that the spread of infection was slowing, with only five cases detected in the last 7 days of the outbreak. Shearwater is the focus of concerns that rising UK infection rates could spread to the offshore oil and gas sector, which normally provides 1 million B/D of oil including the Brent and Forties benchmark grades and meets about half the country's gas needs. Offshore workforce numbers have recently recovered to well over 10,000, following a steep fall last year in response the pandemic, according to industry figures.
Chevron, Shell, and TotalEnergies are supporting a 12-month research project, which is expected to achieve a world-first in demonstrating high-resolution satellite-based monitoring of anthropogenic methane (CH4) emissions at sea. Led by Canadian-based GHGSat, the new research project aims to assess the feasibility of space-based methane monitoring technology to measure emissions from offshore oil and gas platforms. GHGSat is testing a technique developed by NASA, amongst others, and proven in fields such as ocean height and ice-thickness measurement. With a vantage point 500 km above the Earth, and high revisit rates, the company believes satellites could hold the key to verifying emissions from rigs, easily and cost-effectively. The study will monitor 18 offshore sites in locations such as the North Sea and the Gulf of Mexico for over 12 months.
Odfjell has been awarded a three-well, $40-million drilling contract for its semisubmersible drilling unit Deepsea Stavanger by Equinor. The rig will join sister units Deepsea Atlantic and Deepsea Aberdeen under contract with the Norwegian operator. The rig is scheduled to start drilling the first of three planned exploration wells in the North Sea in February 2022. The wells are expected to take about 4 months to complete. The contract includes continuing options after the initial phase.
Equinor has received regulatory approvals to proceed with the development of the Breidablikk field in the North Sea. The plan for development and operation for the $2.1-billion project was submitted to authorities in September. Production from the field is scheduled to start in the first half of 2024. "We are very pleased that the authorities have approved the development plans for the Breidablikk field," said Arne Sigve Nylund, Equinor's executive vice president for projects, drilling, and procurement. "The development of one of the largest undeveloped oil discoveries on the Norwegian continental shelf (NCS) will create substantial value for Norwegian society and the owners while securing high activity and jobs for many years ahead."
The co-owners of the Terra Nova project offshore Newfoundland have reached an agreement in principle to restructure the project ownership and provide short-term funding toward continuing the development of the Asset Life Extension Project, with the intent to move to a sanction decision in the fall. A subset of owners will increase their ownership of the project for consideration payable from the other owners. Full details of the ownership swap were not disclosed, however, as a result, operator Suncor's ownership will increase to 48% from around 38%. The agreement is subject to finalized terms and approval from all parties, including board of director approval where appropriate, and is contingent upon the previously disclosed royalty and financial support from the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador. "Over the past year, Suncor has worked diligently with all stakeholders to determine a path forward for Terra Nova," said Mark Little, Suncor president and chief executive officer.
The Norwegian government has earmarked two areas in the North Sea to accommodate up to 4.5 GW of floating and bottom-fixed wind turbine capacity. Utsira Nord, an area of 1000 km2, is northwest of Stavanger, and Soerlige Nordsjoe II, an approximately 2,590-km2 area, borders the Danish sector of the North Sea. Utsira Nord is seen as suitable for floating wind power, while Soerlige Nordsjoe II is suitable for bottom-fixed wind power turbines. Norway, western Europe's largest oil and gas producer, is pushing ahead with North Sea wind power despite its already-plentiful renewables supply as it examines how it can adapt its petroleum industry to meet climate goals. "We have the knowledge, the experience, and a good track record from establishing and building advanced installation in tough conditions far out at sea," Reuters quoted Norwegian Oil and Gas Association director general Anniken Hauglie as saying.