Exploration in NW-Europe – a quick glance

At the start of the new year, let’s take a look at what’s going on in the exploration business offshore. The major shelves, UK and Norway, keep exploring, also for CO2 storage.

The petroleum industry in this corner of the world enters another year. The search for new hydrocarbons to replace existing assets to an increasing energy-demanding market.

NCS: At the moment, six ongoing exploration wells are being drilled offshore Norway. One of these wells has a different story; Equinor Energy ASA is hoping to find a “duster” with well 31/5-7 ‘Eos’, proving possible CO2 storage possibilities in the Jurassic Cook and Johansen formations south of the Troll field, see also “First well of its kind”. Several CO2 injection wells are expected in the years to come to mitigate climate change.

The other exploration wells are targeting mainly near-field prospects in the North Sea. ConocoPhillips Scandinavia AS is hoping for oil with the 25/7-8 S ‘Enniberg‘ well next to Balder/Ringhorne. Mol Norge AS is drilling in the neighborhood, well 25/8-19 S ‘Evra/ Iving‘ aims for oil in injectites. [Update:] The appraisal well 25/8-19 A was spudded on New year’s eve after the 25/8-19 S well spudded almost two months earlier, this suggest a possible discovery. Equinor is also drilling 15/3-12 S ‘Sigrun East’ south of the 15/3-4 ‘Sigrun‘ discovery next to the Gudrun field, aiming for oil.

Wintershall DEA Norge AS operates two wildcat wells in the Norwegian Sea, one of them is 6406/3-10 ‘Bergknapp‘ for PL 836 S, to the west of the once very promising 6506/6-1 ‘Victoria‘ discovery. Now, the plans for the development of this earlier considered gas giant are abandoned. The other well Wintershall operates is the gas-seeking 6604/6-1 ‘Gullstjerne‘ to the northwest.

The UK continental shelf is also thriving with activity, a total of 42 ongoing wells, including production, exploration and delineation wells, are continuing, mainly in the North Sea and West of Shetland. The Norwegian Petroleum Directorate’s Factpages hold an advantage next to the Oil and Gas Authority of the UK in so matter; there, it is easy to divide between ongoing exploration wells and other wells. Still, the 32nd licensing round in the UK is closed, awaiting awards in Q2 this year for further exploration.

The other continental shelves in NW Europe are seeing more varied activity. We are awaiting any news from the oil and gas exploration offshore Iceland and Greenland. The Faroese shelf is also relatively quiet on the news front, but the 5th licensing round closed in November, and the outcome will hopefully be revealed later this year. Rumour says there were no applicants for the 5th Faroese round! On the Dutch shelf, Taqa Energy drills the P15-20 well. Here, more info is not available.

The Danish shelf is quiet for the moment when it comes to exploration drilling, according to GEUS. Here we are also awaiting the results of the 8th licensing round, but no news has been issued since February 2019.

Ireland has a handful of gas fields producing. However, oil exploration is apparently out of the game, see Ireland’s oil exploration – do we really see the end of it?.

Finally, we go onshore: a bit surprising gas discovery was made some years ago onshore in the Dalarna region, mid-Sweden. Operator Igrene AB is awaiting the government’s approval of a production permit. Sweden, an earlier small-scale oil producer, might be back in play. The reserves here are small, the operator expects production of 50 000 ton LNG/year from 4-5 production wells, equal to 0,43 MMBOE. For Norwegian readers or by using Google translate, more info can be found here at Geo365: Nytt gassfunn i Siljanringen.

Text: Terje Solbakk