The Shelf in 2006 - Exploration activity
05/01/2007 26 exploration wells were spudded in 2006, of which 17 were wildcat wells and nine were appraisal wells. 23 exploration wells have been completed. The number of exploration wells doubled as compared with 2005; however, fewer wells were drilled than planned, largely as a result of the drilling rig shortage.
Four new discoveries were made in 2006. The largest discovery was made by Eni in the Barents Sea in well 7122/7-3 under the Goliat discovery. In addition to delimiting the discovery, this well was deepened and struck oil in the Kobbe formation in Middle Triassic rocks. The discovery in the Kobbe formation is considered to be positive, as it proved a petroleum potential not previously confirmed in this part of the Hammerfest basin. The discovery was further delimited by well 7133/7-4, which proved both gas and oil in the Kobbe formation. This well also resulted in a new, minor oil discovery in deeper drilling targets in the Klappmys formation from the Triassic Age. This was a previously undrilled level in this part of the Barents Sea.
Statoil also made two small discoveries in Jurassic rocks. A small gas discovery was made in well 6608/10-11 in the Norne area in the Norwegian Sea, while a small oil discovery was made in the North Sea in well 34/10-49 S. This discovery is in the Gullfaks area.
Although the number of new discoveries did not meet expectations, several wells drilled to delimit old discoveries have yielded positive results. In the Barents Sea, this applies to Statoil appraisal well 7122/6-2 on the Tornerose discovery, approx. 60 km east of the Snøhvit field. Tornerose is an old discovery in rocks from the Triassic Age.
In appraisal well 6507/11-8 in the Norwegian Sea, Statoil has confirmed the extent of the Morvin discovery, proven in 2001. This is an oil discovery in Jurassic rocks, situated 8 km west of the Åsgard field.
In appraisal well 35/11-14 in the northern part of the North Sea, Hydro has proven additional resources in the Astero discovery, proven in 2005. The discovery is situated in an area in the northern part of the North Sea where new developments are planned. An appraisal well has also been drilled by Statoil in the Gullfaks area on the old 34/10-23 Valemon discovery. Here hydrocarbons were proven in rocks from the Jurassic Age. Furthermore, Statoil has delimited the old oil and gas discovery, 15/3-1 Gudrun, north of the Sleipner area. The well was tested and has provided important information about the reservoir properties of the discovery.
Talisman has drilled two appraisal wells in the southern part of the North Sea. Well 15/5-16 S has proven additional resources with gas in connection with the 15/12-12 Rev discovery, which Talisman plans to develop. West of the Ula field, well 7/8-5 S has delimited the 7/8-3 Krabbe discovery in Jurassic rocks, proven in 1983 by Conoco. A development is now being considered in connection with the closed Mime field, previously operated by Hydro.
Activity is currently underway on six exploration wells. In the Barents Sea, Eni is drilling wildcat well 7122/7-A on the Goliat discovery. Three wildcat wells are being drilled in the Norwegian Sea; Shell is drilling 6406/6-2 on the OnyX W prospect, Total is drilling 6406/8-2 on the Hans prospect and Hydro is drilling 6507/11-7 on the Zita prospect. Activity is underway on two exploration wells in the North Sea. Statoil is drilling wildcat well 16/4-4 on a prospect from the Paleocene Age in the Sleipner area, while Talisman is delimiting the Rev discovery with well 15/12-17 in the southern part of the North Sea.
Exploration activity has increased in 2006 compared with the previous year, but there is still a shortage of drilling rigs. This will also restrict exploration activity in 2007. On this basis, the NPD expects that about 30 exploration wells will be spudded in 2007. Several of these will be drilled to follow up the work commitments from recent years' Awards in Predefined Areas.