Equinor to drill seven new wells at Gullfaks to recover even more resources

Norwegian oil and gas major Equinor and its partners have decided to drill seven new wells at Gullfaks field located offshore Norway and improve oil recovery by 17 million barrels. 

Equinor is the operator of the Gullfaks field with a 51% interest and its partners are Petoro (30%) and OMV (19%). Gullfaks lies in the Tampen area in the northern part of the North Sea. Water depth in the area is 130-220 meters.

On behalf of the license partners, Equinor’s executive vice president for Development and Production Norway, Arne Sigve Nylund, on Tuesday presented an amended plan for development and operation (PDO) to the minister of petroleum and energy, Kjell-Børge Freiberg, at the Sandefjord Conference.

“Our ambition is to maintain profitable production from the Norwegian continental shelf (NCS) for several decades. Wells that can be drilled fast and at a low cost, near existing infrastructure, will be a major contributor,” said Nylund.

Equinor said that the partners would invest about NOK 2.3 billion ($269.1M) in the Gullfaks project.

The wells will be drilled in the Shetland Group, a carbonate reservoir that lies above the main reservoir at the North Sea Gullfaks field.

According to Equinor, drilling on Gullfaks is challenging due to the carbonate reservoir. A well test in 2012 proved however that also this reservoir had an oil production potential. The Gullfaks partners have therefore invested more than NOK one billion in production wells in this formation since 2013, which have so far produced more than six million barrels of oil from Shetland/Lista phase 1.

As this reservoir could potentially produce more oil by use of water injection, the authorities requested the Gullfaks partners to submit an amended PDO in 2019.

The Gullfaks partners are now ready to recover even more resources by use of water injection and new production wells in the Shetland/Lista phase 2 development. A total of seven horizontal wells is planned to be drilled by use of existing drilling facilities on Gullfaks.

“These formations that used to pose a challenge are now due to producing at a break-even below USD 30 per barrel – I find that to be a nice bonus from Gullfaks,” said Nylund.

The oil from Shetland/Lista is a small contribution to the total Gullfaks reserves, but a major contributor to the remaining field potential.

Furthermore, the project deepens our knowledge of carbonate reservoir production, which can be used in other parts of the world.

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