Norway’s Equinor said on Monday that it had found additional volumes of oil in the Johan Castberg license in the Arctic Barents Sea, and will consider tying-in the new discovery to the Johan Castberg oil field, which is currently under development with first oil expected in 2022.
Operator Equinor and its partners Eni and Petoro have completed the Skruis exploration well in the Johan Castberg license—Equinor’s first operated exploration well drilled in the Barents Sea this year—and confirmed that there were between 12 million and 25 million recoverable barrels of oil in place.
Recoverable resources at the Johan Castberg field under development are estimated at 450-650 million barrels of oil equivalent, Equinor has estimated.
“This is an important discovery. It helps to determine the size of the Johan Castberg resource base which is currently being developed. Securing resources near existing infrastructure is an important part of Equinor’s ambition and strategy on the Norwegian continental shelf,” said Nick Ashton, Equinor’s senior vice president, Exploration, Norway & UK.
“The Skruis discovery confirms the potential in this part of the Barents Sea. Over the past couple of years, we have learned that exploration in the Barents Sea is challenging and takes patience. We still have three Equinor-operated wells and one partner-operated well left to drill in the Barents Sea. We also have a good portfolio for the next couple of years. Together with the wells we drilled in 2017, this will help clarify the potential in the remaining part of the Barents Sea,” Ashton said. Related: Is Libya's Latest Oil Production Target Too Ambitious?
Equinor and partners will now further consider tying-in of the new discovery to Johan Castberg, whose start-up is planned for 2022.
In June this year, the Norwegian Parliament approved the development plan for the Johan Castberg project, which will cost US$5.9 billion (49 billion Norwegian crowns).
After the oil price crash in 2014, Equinor and its partners changed the plan concept and tried different solutions to halve the initial capital expenditures of more than US$12 billion (100 billion Norwegian crowns) and to make the project profitable at below US$35 a barrel of oil, compared to the original breakeven oil price of above US$80 a barrel, Equinor said in June.
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
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