Drilling rig Transocean Enabler in the Barents Sea. Photo: Jan Arne Wold / Woldcam - Equinor ASA

Equinor finds more Barents oil

The discovery is located near the company's Johan Castberg field and could hold up to 50 million barrels of oil.
March 11, 2021

“Succeeding in the Barents Sea requires perseverance and a long-term perspective,” says Nick Ashton, Equinor’s senior vice president for exploration in Norway.

The Norwegian state-controlled company has over the last years drilled a significant number of wells in the far northern region. But only few discoveries have been made. Now, the company believes it might have found a key to success.

The new discovery in the Barents Sea is located near the Johan Castberg field. Map by npd.no

“This discovery strengthens our belief in the opportunities that exist, not least around the Castberg, Wisting, Snøhvit and Goliat areas,” Ashton says in a statement.

According to the Norwegian Petroluem Directorate, the well encountered a total oil column of 109 metres, of which about 90 metres were sandstone of moderate to good reservoir quality

The Johan Castberg field is located about 200 km north of the Norwegian mainland. It is based on three nearby discoveries made in 2011 and the subsequent years. Resources are believed to amount to 650 million barrels of oil equivalents. That figure could increase with this week’s new discovery.

According to Equinor, a joint infrastructure solution with the Castberg field will now be considered.

The Johan Castberg is to be developed with a floating production ship. Operations are due to start in 2023.

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Field developments are estimated to cost about 49 billion Norwegian kroner (€4.86 billion).

The find was made by semi-submersible rig Transocean Enabler. The rig will now proceed with drilling in nearby waters. Equinor in 2021 plans to drill four wells in the Barents Sea.

The Norwegian drilling in the Barents Sea is increasingly disputed by environmentalists who argue that Norway must halt its expansive oil exploration. 

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