Statoil has received consent to carry out exploration drilling of the well 7324/9, known as Mercury, in production licence 614 in the Barents Sea using the Transocean Spitsbergen semi-submersible drilling rig.
Water depth at the site is around 413 metres and it is around 242 kilometres to the nearest mainland at Nordkapp municipality. Drilling is planned to begin in mid-July 2014, with a duration of around 27 days, depending on whether a discovery is made.
Transocean Spitsbergen is a semi-submersible drilling facility of the Aker H-6e type. It was built at the Aker Stord yard in 2009, is registered in the Bahamas and classified by DnV. The rig received Acknowledgement of Compliance (AoC) in October 2012.
Drilling in the Hoop area has spurred protests by Greenpeace who claim that an oil spill there could harm the nearby Bear Island. Protesting against Statoil’s drilling in the licence, on the morning of 27 May Greenpeace activists boarded the drilling rig Transocean Spitsbergen. They were later removed from the rig by police.
Statoil plans to drill three wells in the Hoop area this summer, on the Apollo, Atlantis and Mercury prospects.
Offshore Energy Today Staff July 1, 2014