Norwegian oil major Statoil has been given consent by the Petroleum Safety Authority (PSA) to use the Songa Enabler drilling rig on the Snorre field in the North Sea.
The PSA said on Tuesday that the consent covered the use of the Songa Enabler mobile drilling rig to drill nine shallow bores (pilot holes) on the Snorre field in blocks 34/4 and 34/7.
The objective of the activity is to investigate whether there is shallow gas in the seabed at planned locations for installing well templates for the Snorre expansion project.
The safety body added that the drilling was scheduled to begin in mid-January 2018 and that the work was expected to last for 25 days.
As for the rig, the Songa Enabler is a semi-submersible drilling rig of the CAT D type. It was delivered by the Daewoo yard in South Korea in 2016 and is registered in Norway. The rig was issued with an Acknowledgement of Compliance (AoC) by the PSA in July 2016.
The Snorre field and Snorre expansion
Snorre is an oil field in the Tampen area in the northern sector of the North Sea. Water depth in the area is 300-350 meters. Statoil is the operator of the field with Petoro, ExxonMobil, Idemitsu Petroleum, DEA Norge, and Point Resources as its partners.
Snorre A is a floating tension leg platform (TLP) for accommodation, drilling, and processing in the southern part of the field. The semi-submersible Snorre B is an integrated processing, drilling, and accommodation platform in the northern part of the field.
The Snorre licensees have evaluated various concepts for expanding and increasing extraction from the field. A pre-sanction decision (DG2) was made in autumn 2016. The plan for development and operation (PDO) for the expansion project is planned to be submitted to the authorities at the end of 2017.
To remind, Statoil signed a letter of intent with FMC Kongsberg Subsea for the subsea system for the Snorre expansion project. The LOI is worth slightly less than NOK 2 billion ($240.8M) and includes six subsea templates and subsea production equipment for a total of 24 wells.