Equinor and Lundin Energy have reached an agreement under which the former will continue as operator in the operations phase of the Wisting field in the Barents Sea, Norway.

The agreement follows Lundin Energy’s increase of stake in the southern Barents Sea development by acquiring an additional 25% stake for $320m from OMV.

The deal between Lundin Energy and OMV, which was announced in October 2021, has now closed. It marks the exit of OMV from the Wisting field, while Lundin Energy increased its stake to 35%.

Equinor, which has been the operator of the Wisting field development phase since December 2019, holds a 35% stake. The other partners in the offshore Norwegian field are Petoro and Idemitsu with stakes of 20% and 10%, respectively

Pursuant to the agreement with Lundin Energy, Equinor will continue its operatorship into the operations phase after an investment decision is taken for the project.

The investment decision is aimed to be made at the end of 2022. Prior to that, an impact assessment is expected to be completed by the Wisting licence partners during the first quarter of 2022.

First oil from the Wisting development is expected to be drawn in 2028.

Equinor north exploration and production senior vice president Kristin Westvik said: “We are ready to continue our operatorship into the operations phase of the Wisting field, as proposed by Lundin Energy. We will ensure safe and efficient operation of the Wisting field, in close cooperation with our licence partners.”

According to Equinor, its cooperation agreement with Lundin Energy also includes exploration activities in the areas adjacent to the Wisting field.  As part of this, Lundin Energy will assume the operatorship in the exploration phase for the PL1133 and PL 1134 production licences.

Lundin Energy will transfer the operatorship for the licences to Equinor during the field development phase.

The ownership stakes in PL1133 and PL 1134 will be harmonised between the two firms to reflect the same ownership structure as for the Wisting licence.

As a result, Lundin Energy will take over 15% of Equinor’s stake in P1L133 and a 5% stake in PL1134 from January 2022.

Lundin Energy stated: “This agreement further strengthens the relationship between Equinor and Lundin Energy and sets out a strong collaboration for exploration and operations in what will be the next Barents Sea production hub.”