One of the most anticipated exploration wells of 2017, Korpfjell, has proven a small non-commercial gas volume in the frontier southeast region of the Barents Sea. The Statoil operated well had been targeting oil in a large structure that was estimated by partner Lundin to be over four times the size of that seen in the giant 1.9 – 3bnbbl Johan Sverdrup field.
Korpfjell sits in PL859, close to the Russian maritime border, which was awarded as part of the Norwegian 23rd round in 2016. According to the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate, PL859 was the most sought-after licence in the round, and it is very large, covering 12 blocks. Although the Korpfjell results are disappointing, the well encountered good reservoir quality. Despite being a frontier well, the shallow nature of the reservoir meant that the well was drilled in just over two weeks at an estimated cost of $25m, making the region a cost competitive place to drill. Statoil plans to return to the licence in 2018 with a further well to test additional prospectivity. A well is also being planned next year on the Signalhornet prospect in PL857, 300km to the south of Korpfjell.
Statoil has been one of the most active explorers in the Barents in 2017, but results from the four wells drilled so far this year have all failed to live up to expectations. Like Korpfjell, Blamann and Gemini exploration wells targeted oil but encountered gas, while the Kayak well found 25 – 50mmbbl oil in moderate to poor reservoir. The Songa Enabler rig will now move to drill the final well of this drilling campaign at Koigen Central in PL 718 in the western part of the Barents, and to the north west of OMV’s Wisting discovery.
PL859 is operated by Statoil (30%), with partners Chevron (20%), Petoro (20%), Lundin(15%) and ConocoPhillips (15%)