Drill disappointments for Faroe Islands

Maintenace move: Faroe Islands looking for more business like work on West Hercules, above

The Faroe Islands has had its hopes of becoming a fully-fledged oil nation dashed once again after Statoil this summer completed two wildcats with disappointing results.

Both the Brugdan 2 well and the Sula/Stelkur well earlier this month were dry. However, the Atlantic island nation has received a small consolation price in the form of a maintenance stay for the semi-submersible rig West Hercules, owned by North Atlantic Drilling.

Now, local industry players are hoping for more work of the same kind while they wait for future exploration wells to come up trumps.

“The Faroes are at a crossroads, and we want to show that we have facilities and people to receive rigs that would otherwise be sent to Norway or Scotland,” Jan Mueller, managing director of the Faroes Oil Industry Group, told Upstream. “Then we can be an oil nation without oil.”

Increasing activity in the UK West of Shetland area could mean an opportunity for the island nation to grab some new business, Mueller says.

In addition to welcoming rigs in need of overhauls into its fjords, the Faroes is also looking at the decommissioning market as a way to generate oil-related income, says Mueller.

The West Hercules is on contract with Statoil. After completing the recent Faroes wells, the rig is now having some work done including installation of new thrusters, before it heads across the Atlantic for an exploration campaign in the Flemish Pass basin offshore Canada.

The Faroe Islands are part of Denmark, but have been self-governing in most matters since 1948. The country is eager to increase income from tourism and oil and gas to cut its dependency on North Atlantic fisheries.

The Faroes currently has six active oil and gas exploration licences, of which four are operated by Statoil and two by Dong Energy. ExxonMobil, OMV and Atlantic Petroleum also hold interests in the licenses.

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