News | January 18, 2023

Gas Discovery In The Norwegian Sea


Equinor and partners Wintershall Dea and Petoro have made a commercial gas discovery in production licence 1128 estimated at between two and eleven billion standard cubic metres of recoverable gas, or about 12.6-69.2 million barrels of oil equivalent.

Exploration wells 6605/1-2 S&A in the Norwegian Sea were drilled by the Deepsea Stavanger drilling rig.

The Obelix Upflank discovery was made some 23 kilometres south of the Irpa gas discovery, and 350 kilometres west of Sandnessjøen.

This is the first discovery made on the Norwegian continental shelf (NCS) in 2023, and the first wells in the Equinor-operated production licence awarded in the APA award in 2020.

“We need to find more gas on the NCS. Discoveries near existing infrastructure requires less volume in order to be commercially developed, and can be quickly put on stream with low CO2 emissions. We will together with our partners consider tie-back of this discovery to Irpa, for which we recently submitted a plan for development and operation,” says Grete B. Haaland, Equinor’s senior vice president for Exploration and Production North.

Irpa is a subsea development that will be tied back to the Aastad Hansteen platform. Irpa will extend the life of Aasta Hansteen by seven years, and contribute to more activity at the supply base in Sandnessjøen, for the helicopter base in Brønnøysund, and for the operations organisation in Harstad.

Facts about Irpa

  • The discovery: Irpa (formerly Asterix (6705/10-1) is a gas discovery in the Vøring Basin in the Norwegian Sea, about 80 kilometres west of the Aasta Hansteen platform.
  • Proven in 2009 the recoverable reserves in the discovery include19.3 billion Sm3 of gas and 0.4 million Sm3 of condensate, a total of some 124 million barrels of oil equivalent.
  • Partners: Equinor Energy AS (operator) 51%, Wintershall DEA (19%), Petoro (20%), Shell (10%).
  • The Irpa discovery will be developed through three wells and an 80-kilometre pipeline to Aasta Hansteen.
  • The water depth is 1350 metres.
  • Estimated working hours offshore during development and modifications: 294,000.
  • PDO submission: November 2022.
  • The capital expenditure totals NOK 14.8 billion (2022).
  • Irpa will extend the life of Aasta Hansteen by seven years, from 2032 to 2039.

Facts about the Aasta Hansteen field

  • Aasta Hansteen is located 300 kilometres from shore, northwest of Sandnessjøen in Nordland county.
  • The field came on stream on 16 December 2018. Production at Snefrid North started towards the end of 2019.
  • Gas is transported in the Polarled pipeline to the Nyhamna terminal for further export to the UK. Produced condensate is transported by tankers to the market.
  • The recoverable volume, including Snefrid North, is estimated at 55.6 billion standard cubic metres (Sm3) of gas and 0.6 million Sm3 of condensate. This corresponds to 353 million barrels of oil equivalent.
  • The Aasta Hansteen field is operated from Harstad. The supply base is located in Sandnessjøen, whereas the helicopter base is located in Brønnøysund.

Source: Equinor ASA