Hydro finds oil in Barents Sea near Goliat field

Uchenna Izundu
International Editor

LONDON, Mar. 2 -- Norsk Hydro AS, operator for production license 393 in the Barents Sea, has proved the presence of oil and gas on the Nucula prospect with its exploration well 7125/4-1. The discovery lies 65 km north of Honningsvåg Norway and about 110 km northeast of the Goliat oil field discovery in the Barents Sea.

Drilling was carried out using Transocean Inc.'s Polar Pioneer arctic class semisubmersible. The 7125/4-1 well was drilled to 1592 m TD subsea, reaching rock formations from the early Triassic period, Hydro said.

"Oil and gas were encountered in the well. Hydrocarbons were found in the Realgrunnen Group formation, and in the Kobbe formation," the company said, adding that the well was not production-tested but that the company has carried out extensive data collection and sampling work.

"It is important to emphasize that there is a need for further evaluation and analysis of collected data in order to ascertain whether or not the discovery is commercial," said Tore Lilloe-Olsen, Hydro's vice-president for exploration in Norway. "It is positive that a new, functioning petroleum system has been proven in this part of the Barents Sea, too," he added.

Production license 393 was awarded in March 2006 to a four-company consortium of operator Norsk Hydro and Eni SPA, 30% each, and BG Group PLC and Petoro AS, 20% each.

Partner Eni said the find was confirmation of the great hydrocarbon potential in the area. Eni is operator of Goliat field with 65% interest. It said it will finalize the concept selection phase for Goliat which, also being in the Barents Sea, poses the same technical and environmental challenges as the Nucula find.

Norway has granted Eni permission to carry out further exploration to the north of Goliat during 2007 (OGJ Online, Feb. 19, 2007).

Contact Uchenna Izundu at uchennai@pennwell.com.

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