Equinor has confirmed an oil discovery offshore Norway, with the operator hailing it as a "significant" find and the largest on the Norwegian continental shelf so far this year.

The discovery at the Blasto prospect confirms an exclusive report from Upstream earlier this week that the Norwegian state-controlled player had made a find.

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Preliminary estimates of the recoverable reserves at the discovery in production licence 090I are between 75 million and 120 million barrels of oil equivalent.

Equinor said on Wednesday that the find is "the biggest discovery so far this year on the Norwegian continental shelf".

“The discovery revitalises one of the most mature areas (on the continental shelf). With discoveries in four of four prospects in the Fram area during the past 18 months, we have proven volumes that in total will create considerable value for society,” said Nick Ashton, Equinor’s senior vice president for exploration in Norway.

Tie-in potential

The Norwegian Petroleum Directorate (NPD) said: “The licensees have assessed the discovery as commercial and will consider tie-in to other discoveries and existing infrastructure in the area.”

Odin Estensen, managing director in Norway of licence partner Neptune Energy, said: "Blasto is the first of two exploration wells we will drill in the Fram area this year, and fits with our strategy for exploration close to our existing infrastructure.

"These are important resources which can be brought into production quickly. It’s also a strategically important discovery for Neptune and underlines our commitment to continue growing our business in the Norwegian sector.

"In the last 15 months, we have participated in five exploration wells, and four of these have resulted in discoveries.”

Two wells were drilled by Seadrill’s semi-submersible rig West Hercules about three kilometres south-west of the Fram field in the northern North Sea and 120 kilometres north-west of Bergen.

The primary exploration target for wildcat well 31/2-22 A was to prove petroleum in the Sognefjord formation in the neighbouring structure west of the 31/2-22 S well.

Well 31/2-22 S struck a total oil column of about 30 metres in the upper part of the Sognefjord formation, 25 metres of which was sandstone with very good reservoir quality.

It also hit an oil column of about 50 metres in the lower part of the Sognefjord formation, about 40 metres of which was sandstone with good to very good reservoir quality.

The oil/water contacts were proven at 1860 and 1960 metres, respectively, below sea level.

The well encountered about 65 metres of sandstone in the Fensfjord formation, with moderate to good reservoir quality.

Wildcat well 31/2-22 A hit about 55 metres of water-bearing sandstone with good to very good reservoir quality in the upper part of the Sognefjord formation and about 25 metres of water-bearing sandstone with poor to good reservoir quality in the lower part of the Sognefjord formation.

The well was classified as dry.

Water depth at the site is 349 metres. The wells have been permanently plugged and abandoned.

Equinor operates PL090 I with a 45% stake and is joined by Vaar Energi on 25% and Idemitsu Petroleum and Neptune each on 15%.