Statoil: Songa’s Cat D rig starts drilling on Snøhvit field

Norwegian oil company Statoil has informed that the semi-sub Cat D rig Songa Enabler has started drilling a new injection well for CO2 gas on the Snøhvit field in the Barents Sea off the coast of Hammerfest.

Next, a production well will be drilled for replenishment of gas for Hammerfest LNG, Statoil said on Tuesday.

The rig started working under its eight-year drilling contract with Statoil in late July and Statoil received consent from Norway’s Petroleum Safety Authority (PSA) to use the Songa Enabler rig for drilling three wells at the Snøhvit field in early August.

The company noted on Tuesday that Snøhvit is still the only LNG project in the world capturing and storing CO2 separated from the well stream in a dedicated formation offshore.

So far more than four tons of CO2 from Snøhvit have been stored. The stored CO2 is being monitored in order to ensure that it does not mix with the main producing reservoir. A new CO2 injection well is now required.

After the new CO2 injector is installed, Statoil said that the rig will move on to drill the first new production well at Snøhvit since the field came on stream in 2007. The drilling campaign is planned to last until Christmas.

The CO2 solution project was established in 2013 in order to build and install a new CO2  injection well, replacing the original injector that over time would leak CO2 into the gas reservoir on the Snøhvit field.

“Hammerfest LNG needed replenishment of gas in order to maintain the high production and capacity utilization at the plant, while ensuring sustainable CO2 storage. This project is therefore important to Statoil,” says Geir Owren, asset owner representative for the project.

In the summer of 2015, an extensive marine campaign was performed. Pipelines and a template for the CO2 project were installed and tied in to the existing subsea facility on the Snøhvit field. The new subsea facility was built and installed without injuries and well within the budget of NOK 2.5 billion.

“The distance to the Barents Sea presents extra challenges with regard to mobilization and sailing time, which requires careful planning, thorough preparations and close cooperation with the suppliers. We are pleased both with the equipment suppliers and marine operations, which resulted in successful project implementation,” says project leader Sveinung Øvretveit.

According to Statoil, the next big development step for Hammerfest LNG is the development of the Askeladd field, which is part of the plan for development and operation of the Snøhvit license. It is expected to come on stream in 2020/2021. This development step will help ensure full utilization of the capacity at Hammerfest LNG.

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