Equinor and its partners have made a new oil discovery in the western Barents Sea, offshore Norway within license PL 532 following the drilling of the exploration well 7220/5-3 in the Skruis Prospect.

Songa Enabler drilling rig

Image: The Skruis Prospect was drilled by the Songa Enabler drilling rig. Photo:courtesy of Jan Arne Wold / Woldcam - Equinor ASA.

The Skruis exploration well is located nearly 230km northwest of Hammerfest and a few kilometres north of the Johan Castberg field, which is slated to begin production in 2022. It was drilled by the Songa Enabler drilling rig in a water depth of 409m.

Equinor, which holds a stake of 50% in License PL 532, is partnered by Italian firm Eni (30%) and Norwegian firm Petoro (20%).

The Skruis exploration well was planned to assess the hydrocarbon potential of the Middle Jurassic Sequence. It intersected 34m of light oil column in a single sandstone layer with excellent reservoir properties, said Eni.

Equinor said that the Skruis exploration well confirms a volume of 12-25 million recoverable barrels of oil. Skruis is also the first operated exploration well drilled by the Norwegian oil and gas giant in the Barents Sea in 2018.

According to Equinor Norway & UK exploration senior vice president Nick Ashton, the Skruis discovery will help in defining the size of the Johan Castberg resource base.

Ashton said: “The Skruis discovery confirms the potential in this part of the Barents Sea. Over the past couple of years, we have learned that exploration in the Barents Sea is challenging and takes patience. We still have three Equinor-operated wells and one partner-operated well left to drill in the Barents Sea.

“We also have a good portfolio for the next couple of years. Together with the wells we drilled in 2017, this will help clarify the potential in the remaining part of the Barents Sea.”

The three partners in license PL 532 will further explore tie-in of the Skruis discovery to the Johan Castberg field.

Eni, in a statement, said: “The Skruis discovery is part of Eni’s “near field” exploration strategy that, in case of success, allows the exploitation of these thanks to the synergies with future infrastructures.”

The Italian oil and gas company said that the 7220/5-3 exploration well will be plugged and abandoned permanently following extensive data collection and sampling program.