Norwegian oil and gas company Vaar Energi has confirmed the discovery of more oil near the Goliat field in the Barents sea, while compatriot Aker BP has drilled a dry well near the Edvard Grieg field in the North Sea, according to the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate (NPD).

Vaar revealed last month it had made an oil discovery near the Goliat field with the Countach well, which the NPD referred to as wildcat well 7122/8-1 S.

Vaar Energi confirmed today that, following extensive data acquisition and sampling, the preliminary resource estimate of the new find was on the scale of between 3 million and 13 million barrels of oil equivalent recoverable.

The company added there is potential in undrilled segments at Countach that could be up to 23 million barrels of oil equivalent.

The well was drilled about 13 kilometres northeast of the Goliat field in the southern part of the Barents Sea, 90 kilometres north-west of Hammerfest.

The NPD's report today said the primary exploration target for the well was to prove petroleum in the Kobbe Formation in Middle Triassic reservoir rocks.

The secondary exploration target for the well was to prove petroleum in the Realgrunnen Subgroup in Lower Middle Jurassic reservoir rocks.

The well encountered an oil column of 13 metres in the Realgrunnen Subgroup in sandstone layers totalling 29 metres with moderate to good reservoir quality. The oil/water contact was encountered at 1650 metres below sea level.

Appraisal well

Vaar said the well is being permanently plugged and abandoned and the permit holders are considering drilling an appraisal well.

“The discovery is part of a series of successful exploration wells in the Barents Sea in recent years, including Lupa, the largest discovery on the Norwegian continental shelf in 2022,” said executive vice president for exploration and production at Vaar Energi, Rune Oldervoll.

“We will consider a possible commercialization and connection of the discovery to the Goliat FPSO. Due to the late arrival of the drilling rig to the field this winter, it has not been possible to carry out the planned sidetrack before the environmental drilling restrictions commence on 1 March. We look forward to continuing to explore the area around Goliat at a later point in time,” Oldervoll concluded.

The well was drilled using the rig Transocean Enabler. Vaar Energi is the operator with a 65% ownership while Equinor owns the remaining 35%.

Successful drilling: the Transocean Enabler Photo: JON ARNE WOLD/WOLDCAM/EQUINOR

Vaar made the headlines in December last year with the Lupa gas discovery, which was the largest discovery in Norway in 2022.

The preliminary estimate at Lupa suggested recoverable reserves of between 57 million and 132 million boe, also near the Goliat field.

But Aker BP came up dry

Meanwhile, Aker BP’s drilling near the Edvard Grieg field in the Norwegian sector of the North Sea, failed to find hydrocarbons.

The NPD said the well 16/1-35 S was drilled in production licence 1141 about 6.5 kilometres west of the Edvard Grieg field in the North Sea, 208 kilometres west of Sandnes.

The primary exploration target for the well was to prove petroleum in Upper Jurassic reservoir rocks in the Draupne Formation, according to the directorate.

The secondary exploration target for the well was to prove petroleum in Middle Jurassic reservoir rocks from the Vestland Group.

The well hit the Draupne Formation at about 520 metres, including a total of 298 metres of sandstone layers with good reservoir quality.

In the secondary exploration target, the well encountered the Vestland Group at 174 metres, 114 metres of which was a sandstone reservoir with moderate to good reservoir quality.

It was the first exploration well in PL 1141 since it the permit was awarded in 2021.

Aker BP used the drilling facility Scarabeo 8, which will now drill wildcat well 25/4-15 in production licence 919 in the North Sea where Aker BP is also the operator.

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