From an oil find in the Norwegian Sea to a planned exploration in Lebanon to contracts for rigs, below is a compilation of the latest headlines in the E&P space within the past week.

Activity headlines

Neptune finds oil near Draugen

Deepsea Yantai Odfjell drilling
The Deepsea Yantai drilled discovery well 6407/8-8 S in the Norwegian Sea. (Source: Odfjell Drilling)

Neptune Energy Norge’s 6407/8-8 S well in the Norwegian Sea found oil and gas with good-quality reservoir rocks, the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate reported.

PL 938 map
Location of well 6407/8-8 S in PL 938. (Source: NPD)

Neptune operates Production License 938; the well was drilled in 271 m water depth about 14 km northwest of the Draugen Field. Preliminary calculations place the size of the discovery between 1 MMcm and 3.5 MMcm of recoverable oil equivalent. The licensees will assess the discovery with a view toward a possible development using nearby infrastructure.

The well's primary exploration target was to prove petroleum in Middle Jurassic reservoir rocks belonging to the Garn formation, and the secondary exploration target was to prove petroleum in Middle to Lower Jurassic reservoir rocks belonging to the Ile and Tilje formations.

In the primary exploration target, well 6407/8-8 S encountered an 8-m thick gas column and a 30-m thick oil column in the Garn formation, which is a total of 131 m thick. Reservoir quality in the hydrocarbon column is good to very good. The oil/water contact was encountered at 2,998 m.

In the secondary exploration target, the well encountered aquiferous sandstone reservoirs belonging to the Ile and Tilje formations. Reservoir thickness is 79 m in the Ile Formation and 145.5 m in the Tilje Formation. Reservoir quality varies from poor to moderate in both formations. The well has been permanently plugged and abandoned.

TotalEnergies to explore Block 9 in 2023

During a discussion with Walid Fayad, Lebanon’s Minister of Energy and Water, TotalEnergies CEO Patrick Pouyanné confirmed that the teams in charge of drilling operations on Block 9 had been mobilized.

In addition to the operations manager, more than 10 people are involved in the preparation of the well. By the end of March, the team mobilized in Beirut will reach more than 20. The call for tenders to secure the drilling rig has been launched and should lead to a selection of the rig in the first quarter of 2023. Pre-orders have also been placed with suppliers for equipment required for the well. In parallel, offshore resources are being mobilized to contribute to the environmental studies that will be finalized by the end of June 2023.

NOVATEK reports gas in Gydan Peninsula

PAO NOVATEK announced that it had discovered a new gas condensate field in the Bukharinskiy license area near its Trekhbugorniy license area in the Gydan Peninsula.

NOVATEK said it had named the field Viktor Girya, a geologist and founder of the company.

The Arctic LNG 1 tested the prospecting well. The field holds an estimated 52 Bcm of natural gas and 2 million tons of liquids of recoverable reserves according to the Russian reserve reporting standards. NOVATEK expects to develop the field.

ANP signs 58 concession contracts

The Brazilian National Agency for Petroleum, Natural Gas and Biofuels (ANP) has signed the contracts for blocks awarded in the country’s 3rd Cycle of the Permanent Concession Offer (OPC), which was held in April 2022.

The 58 concession contracts generated a collection of $79 million in signing bonuses that will result in at least $75.8 million in investments only in the first phase, or exploration phase, of the contract.

Due to the diversity of the blocks sold, the investments will take place in six states: Rio Grande do Norte, Alagoas, Bahia, Espírito Santo, Santa Catarina and Paraná. The blocks were sold for a total of 12 companies.

 The concession contracts were signed by representatives of: 3R Areia Branca SA (bidder 3R Petroleum Oil and Gas SA), Ecopetrol Oil and Gas do Brasil Ltda, Energy Paranã Ltda (bidder ENP Ecossistemas Energéticos Holding SA), Imetame Energia Ltda, Newo Oil and Gas Ltd, NTF Oil and Gas SA, Origin Energy SA, Petroborn Oil and Gas SA, Petro-Victory Energia Ltda, Seacrest Petróleo SA, Shell Brasil Petróleo Ltda and TotalEnergies EP Brasil Ltda.

Contracts and company news

Transocean drillships win work in Brazil

Transocean Ltd. announced its ultra-deepwater drillships Deepwater Corcovado and Deepwater Orion had won about $1.04 billion in contracts for work offshore Brazil with a national oil company.

Deepwater Corcovado was awarded a four-year contract, which contributes an estimated $583 million in backlog and is expected to begin in the third quarter of 2023 in direct continuation of the rig’s current contract.

Deepwater Orion was awarded a three-year contract, which contributes an estimated $456 million in backlog and is expected to begin during the fourth quarter of 2023.

Cenovus sets out 2023 investments

Cenovus announced it plans to invest between $4 billion and $4.5 billion in 2023, including about $2.8 billion of sustaining capital to maintain production and support operations.

The company plans to spend between $1.2 billion and $1.7 billion for optimization and growth, including construction of the West White Rose project in Atlantic Canada with first oil expected in 2026, as well as some downstream initiatives. Also in the upstream segment, Cenovus expects to progress the 17-km pipeline Narrows Lake oil sands tie-back to Christina Lake, continue optimization of Foster Creek and the Lloydminster thermal projects and apply Cenovus’s operating model at Sunrise oil sands project.

Petrofac for Hartshead FEED work

Hartshead map
Hartshead Resources’ multi-phased development in P2607 with proposed gas transportation via Shell’s infrastructure into the Bacton gas terminal. (Source: Hartshead Resources)

Hartshead Resources has awarded FEED contracts for Phase 1 of the development of the Anning and Somerville gas fields in License P2607 on the U.K. continental shelf.

Petrofac Facilities Management Limited won the platforms FEED contract for the Anning and Somerville unmanned minimum facilities jackets and topsides, as well as the subsea FEED contract for the subsea pipelines connecting to the Shell Exploration & Production UK Limited Corvette export system with onward gas transport to the Leman-A complex, associated risers and tie-in to the Anning platform. Petrofac assisted Hartshead with the Phase I Greenfield concept select, which identified the development concept of two wireline capable, normally unmanned, platforms connected via a subsea pipeline to the Shell infrastructure.

Hartshead is also evaluating contracts for geotechnical and geophysical surveys to cover the Anning and Somerville field developments with a view to securing vessels for deployment in the first half of 2023. The survey would provide Hartshead with an interpretation of the seabed geomechanical and soil conditions at the field locations and along the pipeline route.

Final investment decision (FID) on the project is expected in 2023, with first gas in 2024. Hartshead holds the license with 100% interest.

Hartshead map
Hartshead Resources operates License P2607 with 100% interest. (Source: Hartshead Resources)

ProPetro to deliver e-fleet for Permian operator

Under a new contract with an independent Permian operator, ProPetro will provide its electric-powered hydraulic fracturing fleet (e-fleet) along with committed services for a three-year period following the delivery of the e-fleet.

The contracted equipment will be deployed primarily to support simul-frac operations and will initially use Tier IV Dynamic Gas Blending (DGB) dual-fuel equipment and transition to an e-fleet upon delivery, which is expected in the third quarter of 2023.

“With this agreement, we have entered the next phase of our fleet transition, and we are excited to help our customers substantially lower their completion costs and emissions,” ProPetro CEO Sam Sledge said.

He said the transition will make the company more competitive while lowering operating costs.

“The agreement marks a major turning point for ProPetro and is another accomplishment in our defined long-term strategy to industrialize our business,” Sledge said.

Additionally, ProPetro has executed orders for two additional electric frac fleets with expected delivery in the fourth quarter of 2023. This additional order brings a total of four electric frac fleets to ProPetro's hydraulic fracturing offering. Previously, ProPetro placed two orders in August 2022.

Shelf rigs win Eni contracts

Shelf Drilling announced Eni has awarded it a three-year contract for the Shelf Drilling Resourceful and a two-year contract for the Key Manhattan for operations in the Adriatic Sea offshore Italy.

Both contracts include multiple additional option periods, and operations are expected to begin in the second quarter of 2023 for the Shelf Drilling Resourceful and the fourth quarter of 2023 for the Key Manhattan. 

Deepsea Bollsta starts Shell contract in Namibia

Northern Ocean Ltd announced its high-spec semisubmersible drilling rig, Deepsea Bollsta, has begun its 12-month contract for Shell Upstream Namibia BV.  Shell has the option to extend the contract by an additional six months.

Odfjell Drilling AS prepared the rig for the contract and will manage operations for the contract.

Coretrax, Lee Energy for North Sea P&A campaign

Coretrax and Lee Energy Systems deploy combined technologies for major North Sea P&A campaign. (Source: Coretrax)

Coretrax has collaborated with Lee Energy Systems to deliver a one-trip solution for a major operator’s plugging and abandonment (P&A) campaign in the central North Sea.

Coretrax and Lee Energy Systems joined forces to create a range of solutions for remedial annular cementing and plug placement.

Coretrax’ CX-2 bridge plug and CX-RTP (retrievable test packer) were deployed with Lee Energy Systems’ GATOR Hydromechanical Perforator to provide a single-trip system, which successfully placed caps across eight wells.

The combined technologies saved the operator two trips downhole – equating to seven hours – when compared to conventional methods.

To achieve the environmental cap, the CX-2 was first set, released and pressure tested before the GATOR Hydromechanical Perforator was functioned to hydromechanically perforate at two depths. The perforations created four large total flow area (TFA) slots per activation and pushed into the outer annulus, helping to centralize the casing for more effective annular cement displacement. The use of the GATOR also removed the need for explosives to create perforations, reducing operational costs and risk to the asset and crew.

The CX-RTP was then set and following confirmed circulation, a drop ball circulation sub was opened to isolate the GATOR device below. Cement was subsequently pumped and squeezed into the perforated outer annulus before the CX-RTP was retrieved. In the final stage of the operation, cement left on top of the CX-2 was successfully tagged and pressure tested to ensure full integrity.