Equinor gets ready to drill a new Arctic oil well

The new well is near the Johan Castberg field.

By Atle Staalesen, The Independent Barents Observer - December 24, 2019
Equinor plans a new Arctic well near its JOhan Castberg field (Ole Jørgen Bratland / Equinor via The Independent Barents Observer)

The Norwegian Petroleum Directorate has approved Equinor’s well drilling at license area 532 in the Barents Sea. The well will be spudded by the rig Transocean Enabler, according to the directorate.

The area is located about 25 kilometers south of Johan Castberg, the field that was discovered in 2011 and that is to come into production in year 2022.

The Transocean Enabler is now located in the Norwegian Sea, off the coast of Trondheim. It is expected to move towards the Barents Sea in early 2020.

The waters around the Johan Castberg field are now the main regional priority of Equinor after it in November this year announced that it will abandon areas located further east in the Barents Sea.

The Johan Castberg includes three adjacent structures and holds 81 standard cubic meters of oil. Several more prospective discoveries have later been made in the area, among them in an area about 10 kilometers north of the field.

The Johan Castberg field holds up to 650 million barrels of oil and is among Equinor’s biggest new development projects. It is located on 72 degrees north and will be the northernmost field in production in the Barents Sea.

Equinor in 2017 announced that it will spend about 49 billion NOK (€ 4.9 billion) on the development of the project.

Development will happen with a floating production storage and offloading vessel and the oil will be brought directly to markets with shuttle tankers.

There are currently two other offshore fields in production in the Norwegian part of the Barents Sea, the Snøhvit gas field and the oil field Goliat.