Equinor drills dry appraisal well in North Sea

Norwegian oil and gas giant Equinor has concluded the drilling of an appraisal well on an oil and gas discovery near the Fram field in the North Sea, but the well came up dry.

The Deepsea Atlantic drilling rig. Source: Odfjell Drilling

The 35/11-23 A well is located in production license 090, where Equinor is the operator. The well was drilled about 3 kilometers southwest of the Fram field in the northern part of the North Sea and 120 kilometers northwest of Bergen.

The discovery was proven in November 2019 in two sandstone intervals in Upper Jurassic reservoir rocks (the Sognefjord Formation), as well as in the secondary exploration target in the Brent Group.

The Norwegian Petroleum Directorate (NPD) said on Monday that the operator’s resource estimate prior to the drilling of the appraisal well was between 6 and 16 million standard cubic meters (Sm3) of recoverable oil equivalent.

The objective of the well was to delineate the discovery in the primary exploration target and to determine the ratio between oil and gas. The appraisal well was not drilled down to the discovery that was made in the secondary exploration target in the Brent Group.

The well encountered water in both sandstone intervals in the Sognefjord Formation. The uppermost has sandstone layers of about 40 meters with reservoir quality varying from good to very good, as in the 35/11-23 discovery well. The oil/water contact was proven on the basis of pressure data. The other sandstone interval has sandstone layers of about 30 meters with good to very good reservoir quality. The well is dry.

Preliminary estimates place the size of the discovery between 7 and 16 million standard cubic meters (Sm3) of recoverable oil equivalent. The licensees will consider tying the discovery into existing infrastructure in the Troll-Fram area.

The Viking Group in the Upper Jurassic was examined more closely in the appraisal well since there were indications of hydrocarbons in a sandstone layer at this level in the 35/11-23 discovery well. A sandstone layer about 10 meters thickness was encountered in the appraisal well, but this was cemented and tight.

The well was not formation-tested, but extensive data acquisition and sampling have been carried out. This is the 17th exploration well in production license 090, which was awarded in the 8th licensing round in 1984.

The well 35/11-23 A was drilled to a vertical depth of 2629 meters and a measured depth of 2853 meters below sea level and was terminated in the Viking Group in the Upper-Middle Jurassic. Water depth at the site is 350 meters. The well has been permanently plugged and abandoned.

The well was drilled by the Deepsea Atlantic drilling rig, which will now drill production wells on the Snøhvit field in production license 064 in the Barents Sea, where Equinor is the operator.


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