Norway’s state energy giant Equinor has made a new, mostly oil, commercial discovery near its producing Troll field in the North Sea offshore Norway and the operator is already considering its fast-track exploitation, perhaps with other recent finds in the area — likely as tie-backs to existing infrastructure.

“As this discovery is close to the Troll field and other discoveries we have made in the area, we can already now state that it will be commercial,” said Geir Sortveit, Equinor’s senior vice president for exploration and production west operations.

The latest discovery — Rover Sor — is the seventh find in the area since the northern hemisphere autumn of 2019. According to preliminary estimates, Rover Sor hosts recoverable resources of between 17 million and 47 million barrels of oil equivalent, of which the majority is oil.

“Equinor has started field development projects to coordinate the development of these discoveries by utilising existing infrastructure in collaboration with our partners. This [Rover Sor] discovery will be part of this work,” said Sortveit.

“Discoveries close to existing infrastructure are important to maintain oil and gas production from the Norwegian continental shelf. They need smaller volumes to be profitable and can be put on stream quickly with low carbon emissions,” he added.

Joint venture partner DNO said in its own statement that Rover Sor, “together with a string of recent discoveries in the area”, may be tied back to the Equinor-operated Troll field about 10 kilometres to the east.

Equinor’s recent run of success in the Troll area has resulted in six other discoveries — two of which were drilled by Transocean’s rig Spitsbergen — are Echino Sor (discovered in 2019), Swisher (2020), Rover Nord and Blasto (2021), and Toppand and Kveikje (2022).

Reserves uncertainty

While the operator cautioned there is uncertainty as to the reserves of the discoveries, an average of their various estimates gives a total volume of around 350 million boe, around the same size of the Aasta Hansteen field in the Norwegian sea.

Equinor’s next wildcat to be drilled in the Troll area is Heisenberg, the results of which are expected to be ready next month, and more exploration wells are planned in the area later in 2023.

Equinor is operator of the production licence, and its partners are DNO, Wellesley Petroleum and Petoro.

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