Barents Sea drilling nets third reward

The freezing waters of the Barents Sea are emerging as the hot spot for European exploration. The semisubmersible Transocean Arctic recorded a third successive discovery from its current campaign in this sector. This time, it is Statoil in production license 202, 130 km northeast of Hammerfest on the north Norway coast. The well, drilled in 288 meters of water, was probing a structure close to a salt diapir, a model previously not explored in the Barents Sea. Oil and gas were found in Triassic sandstone. No reserves estimate has been issued. Statoil will analyze the logging data and 100 core samples taken before committing to appraisal drilling. However, it has secured the same rig for a fifth well before the Barents Sea drilling season closes, this time on the promising Delta structure, situated in between the Sn hvit and Goliath fields. The latter was one of the other discoveries drilled by the Transocean Arctic in the fall, both operated by Norsk Agip. Goliath's reserves were recently downgraded by the Norwegian Petro-leum Directorate to 75-105 mm bbl. Snohvit is primarily a gas field, but with 130 mm bbl of oil in thin layers. The right result on Delta could open the way to a coordinated development of all three, via a floating producer. Statoil also has a lot riding on another current well in the Norwegian Sea, drilled by semisubmersible Scarabeo V. This is targeting the high-pressure, high-temperature (HP/HT) "M" structure, 5 km northwest of the Kristin gas-condensate field. A favorable result could be factored into the development plan for Kristin, which is expected to be submitted in May. Kristin will act as a hub for several other HP/HT developments. In the North Sea, Statoil also found hydrocarbons within numerous Mid-Jurassic sandstone intervals on the "C" prospect, drilled from the Veslefrikk A platform. Around 8 km north of the Heidrun Field TLP (another Statoil operation), Conoco reports a small Jurassic oil find following a well drilled in 380 meters water depth by the Mærsk Jutlander. The accumulation lies close to subsea facilities installed recently for the Heidrun North tieback.