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29 August 2023

Equinor's New Oil and Gas Discovery near Bergen Boosts Norway's North Sea Prospects

Norway’s Equinor has made a significant oil and gas discovery, adding to its hydrocarbon reserves near the operational Fram field on the west coast, northwest of Bergen.

Results were reported today from an exploration well and an appraisal well drilled about four kilometers southeast of the Fram field, which Equinor has been operating since 2003.

Today's discovery marks another success for Equinor in this area, where nine out of the 12 wells drilled since 2019 have yielded positive results.

Geir Sortveit, Equinor’s senior vice president for Exploration & Production West, stated, “It is positive that we can still make such discoveries in an area with a good oil and gas infrastructure, allowing the discoveries to be developed at low costs and with low CO2 emissions."

The Norwegian Petroleum Directorate (NPD) reported that the first wildcat, known as Crino (35/11-26 S), made a new discovery. It encountered a seven-meter-thick natural gas column and a 26-meter oil column in the Heather Formation, with preliminary estimates suggesting a size of between 1.5 and 5.5 million cubic meters of recoverable oil equivalent, equivalent to between 9.4 million and 34.5 million barrels of oil.

However, the Brent Group and the Cook Formation were water-filled with moderate to good reservoir quality. The secondary exploration target in the Lista Formation was not encountered.

The second well, known as Mulder (35/11-26 A), encountered sandstones of moderate to good reservoir quality in the Heather Formation but had an aquiferous reservoir. Oil and gas were also proven in shallower intra-Heather sandstones in both wells, according to NPD.

The licensees will now assess the discovery's commercial viability and consider its potential tie-in to other recent discoveries in the area via existing infrastructure.

Both wells were drilled using Odfjell Drilling’s Deepsea Stavanger semi-submersible, which will now drill a wildcat well in the North Sea where Equinor is the operator.

Equinor is the operator of the project with a 45% interest, alongside partners Vaar Energi (25%), Inpex (15%), and Neptune Energy (15%).

Neptune Energy’s Managing Director in Norway and the UK, Odin Estensen, commented, “We congratulate Equinor for their safe and successful drilling operation, which again proves the potential in the highly prolific Fram area. Its close proximity to existing infrastructure provides potential opportunities for a low emission, cost-efficient development.”

The licensees consider the discovery to be commercially viable and will explore potential tie-ins to other recent discoveries in the area via existing infrastructure, Neptune added.