Discharge-free Snøhvit drilling completed

August 10, 2006, 15:00 CEST

The Polar Pioneer drilling rig has now completed drilling and well operations on the Snøhvit field in the Barents Sea. The work has been completed without any harmful discharges to the sea.

The Polar Pioneer rig has now completed work on Snøhvit after 616 days on the field. (Photo: Alan Klo)

Since the rig arrived at the field in December 2004, it has drilled and completed 10 wells on Snøhvit. Nine of these are production wells, the remaining one is an injection well for carbon dioxide.

"Polar Pioneer has completed drilling and well operations without harmful discharges to sea on time and within budget," says a satisfied Thor Bensvik, drilling and well manager on Snøhvit.

The almost 20-year-old rig was modified in advance of drilling commencement to satisfy the strict environmental requirements for drilling in the Barents Sea. The crew on board have been given focused training to work in accordance with these requirements.

The drilling work itself was completed somewhat earlier than scheduled, while completion and well cleanup was slightly delayed owing to operational problems with the equipment on the seabed and an oil service workers' strike during the summer.

Polar Pioneer left Snøhvit on Wednesday 9 August. The rig has now arrived at the Tornerose prospect, east of Snøhvit, to drill an exploration well there.

The first phase of Snøhvit covers Snøhvit and Albatross, around 140 kilometres northwest of Hammerfest. The wells will begin production when the Hammerfest LNG plant on Melkøya is ready in 2007. Statoil is the operator for development and production of Snøhvit.