Drilling now underway in the Barents Sea

January 20, 2005, 11:30 CET

The Hydro-operated exploratory drilling of the Obelix prospect in the Barents Sea began on Wednesday evening. If all goes according to plan, the drilling operation will continue for about 26 days.

The drilling rig Eirik Raude left the Mongstad base north of Bergen on Wednesday last week and arrived at Obelix on Tuesday.

The exploration zone lies 190 kilometres offshore, between Bjørnøya and the Snøhvit-field.

“The rig experienced a following storm at the beginning of the transit voyage and made good speed north. Transit went as planned, and on Wednesday morning the rig dropped anchor with support from the supply vessels Northern Corona and Skandi Admiral, says drilling operations manager Terje Skram. 

The drilling operation began on Wednesday evening in 368 metres of water.

“We anticipate that the drilling operation will take about 26 days. The oil prospect that is being investigated consists of carbonate rock types of carbon and Permian age,” says Mogens Ramm. head of Hydro’s exploration activities in Northern Norway.

Hydro’s drilling operation in production licence 225 will be the most environmentally-friendly exploratory well ever drilled on the Norwegian Continental Shelf.

The drilling has been prepared in accordance with the Norwegian Storting’s decision on activities in the southern Barents Sea.

The Norwegian Pollution Control Authority and the Petroleum Directorate have given the necessary authorizations for the drilling.

Eirik Raude is an extremely modern drilling rig equipped for drilling in extreme weather conditions during winter.

Hydro has conducted a comprehensive training programme for all personnel involved in the drilling operation.