Spudding in deep waters

July 13, 2000, 09:35 CEST

Work is now under way on the first of two exploration wells being drilled by Statoil in deep water off Nigeria and Greenland this summer.

Spudded on 7 July in 1,460 metres of water, Ekoli-1 in block 217 about 150 kilometres west of Port Harcourt is the eighth Nigerian well drilled by the group.

And drilling starts this week on Qulleq-1 in 1,156 metres on the Fylla licence, 3/97, located 150 kilometres west of the Greenland capital, Nuuk.

The structure being probed by Ekoli-1 has already yielded a major oil discovery for Texaco in the neighbouring block 216.

"We're very optimistic that the Agbami-Ekoli reservoir extends into our acreage," says Morten Rye-Larsen, exploration manager for western African in International Exploration & Production.

The Deepwater Millennium drill ship, which has worked for Statoil in the Gulf of Mexico, is due to remaoin on block 217 until September.

It will then move to spud a wildcat for the group on the Bilah structure in block 218, where Statoil proved gas and oil with its Nnwa-1 well in 1,280 metres of water during February. Work is now under way to commercialise this large find.

Statoil has 53.85 per cent of both 217 and 218, with Texaco holding the remaining 46.15 per cent.

The group is also bidding for three additional blocks in ultra deep water in Nigeria's current offshore licensing round, where allocations are planned during the fourth quarter.

Work on the Fylla well represents the first deepwater assignment for the West Navion drill ship operated by Smedvig of Stavanger.

This vessel arrived on location on 9 July and is due to devote 50-60 days to the assignment, which involves drilling to a depth of just under 3,000 metres.

"Future activity depends on the outcome of this wildcat," comments Rolf Dirdal, operations manager for the new areas unit.

Statoil has 38.25 per cent of 3/97, as does Phillip Petroleum, while Dansk Olie og Naturgas (Dong) has 8.5 per cent and Nunaoil holds 15 per cent.