Equinor and other explorers aim to move forward with the drilling of a number of wildcats off Norway this year after filing applications with authorities, while also gaining approvals for a pair of wells.

The state-controlled operator has applied to the country’s Environmental Agency (EA) to sink the 7018/5-1 exploration well at the Spissa prospect in the Barents Sea using the semi-submersible West Hercules, having earlier decided to drill an initial pilot hole at the prospect.

The main probe will be drilled in a water depth of 304 metres in Equinor-operated production licence 960 in the south-west Barents between September 2020 and February 2021, with a most likely spud date of this autumn, according to the application.