Ocean Vanguard Spuds in at Johan Sverdrup as Det Norske Strikes Out in the Barents

ocean vanguard drilling rig
Ocean Vanguard, image (c) Statoil/Harald Pettersen

Under contract by Statoil since 2013, Diamond Offshore’s Ocean Vanguard semi-submersible drilling rig has commenced drilling an appraisal well today at PL265 located on the Johan Sverdrup discovery.

Lundin Petroleum, a JV parter at PL265 notes their main objective for this well is to “investigate the Jurassic presence, reservoir thickness, quality and distribution on the north-eastern edge of the [Johan Sverdrup] discovery.”

johan sverdrup location
Johan Sverdrup location

For those of you not in the drilling biz, the well will be drilled and then high tech measurement tools will be lowered into the well to evaluate what the earth looks like in that area as well as evaluate the flow rate of the proven hydrocarbon-bearing formation.  Not only that, but by drilling this well and taking these measurements, a recipe for development drilling is created in the process.

When drilling a well, one of the challenges for drilling engineers and geologists is to interpret what the seismic data says and put that into a plan for what the construction of the well will look like.  That is, the layers of the earth are fairly clear on the seismic data, but the pressures at those layers, their exact depths, and the type of rock (formation) won’t be accurately known until the well is actually drilled.  This data is very important when it comes to planning where the different casing points will be for the well and the density of the drilling mud being used.

Lundin notes they plan to drill approximately 1,990 meters below mean sea level, an operation which is expected to take approximately 45 days.

Statoil’s partners at PL265 are Petoro (30%), Det norske oljeselskap (20%), and Lundin Norway (10%).

transocean barents rig
Transocean Barents, image: Transocean

Also operating off Norway today is the Transocean Barents, one of the two harsh-environment semi-submersibles acquired by Transocean in 2011.

Snøhvit field norway
Snøhvit Field location

The rig has just finished up a wildcat well for Det norske oljeselskap ASA, operator of production licence 659 in the Barents Sea, 160 kilometers northwest of Hammerfest.

The Norwegian Petroleum Directorate notes that “a gross oil column of about 30 metres” was found, however it was not “commercially interesting”  and exhibited very poor flow properties.

The well was drilled to a vertical depth of 2918 metres below the sea surface, and was terminated in the Klappmyss formation from the Early Triassic. The water depth is 338 metres.

After plugging and abandoning this well, the Transocean Barents will soon proceed slightly west to production license 607 where they will try their luck at wildcat well 7218/8-1 where GDF SUEZ E&P Norge AS is the operator.