Scarabeo 8: first exploration well off Hammerfest in 32 years

The drilling rig Scarabeo 8

Det Norske Veritas has won a bid to provide environmental and emergency preparedness risk analysis for Statoil’s Johan Castberg project in the Barents Sea . Statoil got the go-ahead from Oslo to drill the first exploration well in one of its Barents Sea licenses . Meanwhile the company is reportedly kicking off seismic studies in the Sea of Okhotsk in cooperation with Rosneft (Upstream).

The drilling rig Scarabeo 8 appeared overnight Monday this week off Ersvika near Hammerfest, the first time a rig has visited Hammerfest in 32 years. The rig is taking advantage of the area’s sheltered waters to perform some tricky refitting 
The Castberg project, which may hold as much as 600 million barrels of recoverable crude, has helped rekindle interest in the Barents Sea after a decade of disappointing results.
Statoil, based in Stavanger, is the operator of the field and has a 50 percent stake. Italy’s Eni SpA has 30 percent, and Petoro AS, which manages Norway’s direct stakes in its oil and gas fields, holds 20 percent. Statoil had originally planned to submit a plan for development and operation to the government for approval next year before starting production in 2018.
Norway remains committed to developing the waters off its northern coast and expects “a lot of licensing” in the Barents Sea when the results of the 22nd licensing round are announced “in the near future” . The government will consider regional support for oil and gas activities if needed, as was done with the development of the Snohvit gas field off the coast of Hammerfest.

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