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Elaine Reynolds
20 February 2018

Barents Sea: greater success in 2018?

One of the most high profile wells to be drilled in 2017 was Statoil’s Korpfjell exploration well in the Barents Sea. The well found only a small non-commercial volume of gas, and contributed to a year of disappointing results for the region. In 2018 there are no similar multi-billion barrel potential prospects scheduled to be drilled, however we do see a sustained commitment to the Barents, with seven exploration wells confirmed and options for a further five wells announced to date. Statoil and Lundin remain as key explorers in the region, but AkerBP will also make a major contribution to the number of wells drilled, as it plans to operate or partner in six wells in the Barents, out of its total Norwegian exploration programme of 12 wells in 2018.

Three wells are planned in the frontier Southeastern Barents, where Korpfjell is located. Statoil is expected to return to the PL859 licence in 2018 targeting the nearby Korpfjell Deep prospect and the Gjøkåsen shallow prospect around 300km south of Korpfjell. While Statoil has not given details for these prospects, partner Lundin estimates that Gjøkåsen holds gross prospective resources of 768mmbbls and Korpfell Deep holds 201mmbbls. Chance of success (CoS) for both prospects is low however, at 10% and 8% respectively, highlighting the frontier nature of the south eastern region. AkerBP will also drill here for the first time in 2018 on the Stagnesind prospect in PL858, located between Korpfell and Gjøkåsen. The well is expected to be drilled in the second half of the year and is targeting an estimated preliminary gross volume of 30 - 190 mmboe.

A further three wells are planned in the western area of the Southern Barents and to the west of Wisting. The Statoil operated Shenzhou well in PL722 is described by partner Lundin as a four way dip closure targeting 138 mmbbls in the Triassic sandstone and 229mmbbls in Permian carbonates. Lundin assigns a CoS of 23% to the Triassic and 8% to the Permian. To the west of Shenzhou, DEA will drill the Gråspett prospect in PL721 in Q4. Partner AkerBP estimates the prospect holds between 32 and 263 mmboe. Spirit Energy will drill the Scarecrow prospect in PL852 and is also partnered here by AkerBP with estimated volumes of 83-245mmboe.

Finally the remaining well, Svanefjell in PL659, is likely to be the first of the wells to be drilled in 2018. Planned for Q2, the well will be operated by AkerBP and the company estimates volumes of 17-331mmboe. Partner Lundin estimates that the Triassic target will hold 268mmboe, though it assigns a CoS of only 12%.

Statoil has contracted the West Hercules rig to drill two firm Barents exploration wells in 2018, but with options to drill a further five. AkerBP will drill its two operated wells with the Deepsea Stavanger.

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