March 2, 2024

Aker BP ASA has raised expected reserves from a discovery in the North Sea to 53-90 million barrels of oil equivalent (MMboe) after concluding drilling for what it said is the longest exploration well on the Norwegian continental shelf.

“When the Ost Frigg Beta/Epsilon wildcat well reached its target depth, the team had drilled 8168 meters [26,797.9 feet]. As it made its way horizontally through the reservoir, the value of Yggdrasil increased meter by meter − in what is Norway’s longest ever exploration well”, the exploration and production company said in a press release Friday.

Aker BP initially posted 40-90 MMboe in recoverable volume for the well in the Yggdrasil area when it announced the discovery May 25.

The total recoverable resources in Yggdrasil have now risen to over 700 MMboe.

“Now we’ve proven that we can drill horizontally in the Frigg formation, and that we can drill over very long distances”, drilling superintendent Hanna Tronstad said in Friday’s announcement.

“[New] Drilling is scheduled to start in 2025, and we’ll be spending the years leading up to this ensuring efficient planning and implementation of the production wells, many of which are horizontal”.

The discovery is under production licenses 873 and 442, both operated by Aker BP with a 47.7 percent and 87.7 percent stake respectively. Equinor ASA and PGNiG Upstream Norway AS are partners in 873 with a 40 percent and 12.3 percent interest respectively. PGNiG Upstream Norway also holds a 12.3 percent stake in 442.

More Oil in Other Wells

The Ost Frigg field consists of two structures, called Alpha and Beta, and Epsilon is the last of three Beta horizontal sidetracks, Aker BP said in Friday’s media statement.

The Norwegian Petroleum Directorate (NPD) separately announced Friday Aker BP had completed the drilling of three other Ost Frigg wells, all encountering oil.

“Well 25/2-24 S encountered a 12.5 meter [41.01 feet] oil column in the Frigg Formation, in a sandstone reservoir totaling 117 meters [383.86 feet] with very good to extremely good reservoir quality”, the NPD said.

Well 25/2-24 A meanwhile “proved a continuous oil column up to 20 meters [65.62 feet] thick, with indication of an oil/water contact at 1945 meters [6,381.23 feet] below sea level”.

Oil has also been proven in well 25/2-24 C with oil or water contact about 6,394.36 feet (1,949 meters) below sea level, the NPD said.

There have now been six exploration wells under license 873 since it was awarded 2016, it said.

Discovered 1970s, Ost Frigg saw gas production 1980s and 1990s but its oil reserves have remained untouched, Aker BP noted in its Friday announcement.

The NPD added the Scarabeo 8 drilling facility used on the four wells “will now proceed to drill wildcat well 6405/7-2 S in production license 1005, where Aker BP ASA is the operator”.

Green Light from Parliament

Aker BP announced earlier it has received approval from Norway’s legislature to proceed with the development of the Yggdrasil area, along with a Valhall field extension project.

The decision has paved the way for final approval by the Petroleum and Energy Ministry of the development plans, the independent company said June 5.

The two undertakings have 1.07 billion boe in combined reserves.

Aker BP plans to start construction for Yggdrasil in autumn.  Senior vice-president Yggdrasil Lars Hoier said in the June 5 release “all major contracts” had been signed and thousands of orders have been placed by local and international buyers.

Valhall PWP-Fenris meanwhile is ready to begin construction before summer as scheduled, the company said.

“Yggdrasil and Valhall PWP-Fenris alone constitute more than NOK 165 billion [$15 billion] in investments. We are talking estimated tax revenue of more than NOK 120 billion [$11 billion] for our nation”, chief executive Johnny Hersvik commented.

Norway will also get around 65 percent of deliveries from Yggdrasil and the Valhall extension, which have a collective contribution of “130,000 full-time equivalents in Norway through the fields’ lifetimes”, Oslo-listed Aker BP said.

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