Statoil Falls Short at Korpfjell

Statoil and partners have proven a small, non-commercial gas volume in the Korpfjell well in the Barents Sea southeast.

Korpfjell is the first exploration well drilled in the Norwegian section of a formerly disputed area between Norway and Russia.

“Korpfjell is a structure of a size seldom seen on the Norwegian Continental Shelf and has attracted much interest, and the results of the first well in this frontier area of the Barents Sea have triggered broad and strong expectations. For this reason, it has been important to us to complete this drilling,” says Jez Averty, Statoil’s head of exploration in Norway and the UK.

“We have all the time pointed out the high level of geological uncertainty related to Korpfjell. The main question was whether we would find anything at all – and if we did, would it hold gas or oil,” continues Averty.

The main purpose of the well was to prove whether there was any oil in the large geological structure on Korpfjell. The drilling has only proven small gas volumes. The gas discovery is estimated to contain 40-75 million barrels of recoverable oil equivalents (6-12 billion standard cubic metres of gas), but the volume is not large enough for a commercial development. The gas was proven in the well’s main target. Statoil and its licence partners will now start analysing the well data acquired.

“The results are of course disappointing, but it is too early to draw any conclusions on how this will impact the Barents Sea southeast area,” says Averty.

“It is important to remember that you rarely succeed on the first try in a frontier area. Thirty-three wells were drilled before the first commercial discovery was made in the Norwegian section of the North Sea. Even if we have learned a lot since 1969, we do not expect the first exploration well to give all the answers. We need further exploration to find out what this implies for the total resource potential of the Barents Sea southeast area,” he points out.

Statoil is planning both operated wells and participation in partner-operated wells in the Barents Sea southeast area in 2018. These plans also include drilling the second commitment well in the Korpfjell licence PL 859.

“Despite an exciting discovery in Kayak and traces of oil in Gemini North, we have so far not had a direct hit that may result in a new standalone field development. The campaign has however provided important clarifications and new information about the resource potential in the Barents Sea,” concludes Averty.

Korpfjell is the fourth well in Statoil’s 2017 exploration campaign in the Barents Sea, where the Kayak oil discovery was announced on 3 July, the Blåmann gas discovery on 17 July and Gemini North on 7 August. The drilling campaign is carried out in a safe and cost-effective manner, without serious incidents during the drilling of the first four wells. The well is drilled by the Songa Enabler semi-submersible drilling rig, which will move to the Koigen Central prospect in licence PL718 in the western part of the Barents Sea when the well has been permanently plugged and abandoned.

Partners in Korpfjell (PL859): Statoil (operator) 30%, Chevron 20%, Petoro 20%, Lundin Norway 15% and ConocoPhillips 15%.

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