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Complementary assessment for Wisting

Wisting illustration
Wisting illustration
(Illustration: Asle Haugland / Equinor ASA)

Equinor will on 24 October, on behalf of the partners, issue a complementary assessment for the Wisting development for public consultation.

The complementary assessment provides more details on how the field can be developed and operated in a safe and secure manner.

“The complementary assessment elaborates some key subjects from the impact assessment, strengthening the decision-making basis for a safe and secure field development,” says Trond Bokn, Equinor’s senior vice president for project management control.

Trond Bokn - portrait
Trond Bokn, Equinor’s senior vice president for project management control.

“The impact assessment, public consultation processes, and the complementary assessment have so far not brought to light any information which changes our view that developing Wisting is technically and environmentally appropriate.The work on technical studies and detailing of plans for the development of the project will continue towards the planned investment decision at the end of 2022,” Bokn adds.

The plan for development and operation (PDO) to be submitted to the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy includes the full decision-making basis for Wisting, including public consultation statements and feedback.

The government will then present its recommendation to the Norwegian Parliament (Storting), including an evaluation as to whether the obligation to conduct an impact assessment has been met, and whether field development is recommended.

Due to the Wisting field’s geographical location in the Barents Sea solid solutions for safe year-round operations are required. The management plan for the Barents Sea, adopted in 2020, forms the framework for the field development, and the Wisting development concept is well adapted to the conditions in the Barents Sea. As fields producing for up to 30 years call for good long-term climate solutions, the field is proposed to be powered from shore.

The complementary assessment provides additional details on the potential impacts of the development for four subjects: Year-round activities, environmental risks, oil spill contingency, and the use of the best available techniques for field development and operations.

Regulations and technology have developed as the petroleum activities have expanded into new areas. Safe year-round operations are a precondition for all activities on the Norwegian continental shelf, and all relevant requirements ensuring this will also apply to Wisting.

Equinor will adapt the installation and safety of the operations to low-temperature conditions, so-called winterization. The installation will withstand ice conditions that statistically may occur once every 10,000 years. Ice monitoring systems will be established, allowing operations to be adjusted if the ice gets closer than 50 kilometres from the installation.

The Wisting project implements several measures initially aimed to prevent, but also minimize the consequences of undesired incidents. The Wisting development involves drilling of a number of wells and this number make it possible to plan drilling activities throughout the year in a good way.

In light of this, Equinor will schedule activity for a time of the year that minimizes environmental risk and will therefore not drill in oil-bearing layers during the most vulnerable month for seabirds. The measure in the drilling phase may be replaced by alternative measures that provide equivalent protection for seabirds, if these are considered the best available techniques (BAT).

The oil spill contingency will be adapted to the specific environmental conditions of the area. Conditions to be addressed in the contingency planning are the adaptation of equipment and methodology, the number of available oil spill contingency systems, training and exercises, the strategy for dealing with oil spills, and increased preparedness in periods when the damage potential is highest in the event of a spill.

Equinor will give feedback on each individual statement on the impact assessment and the complementary assessment no later than at the submission of the PDO. The deadline for statements on the complementary assessment is within two weeks, in compliance with the PDO guidelines.

The Wisting partners: Equinor Energy AS (35 %), AkerBP AS (35 %), Petoro AS (20 %) and INPEX Idemitsu Norge AS (10 %).

Facts about Wisting

  • The impact assessment programme was established by the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy in June 2021.
  • The impact assessment for the Wisting project was submitted for public consultation on 1 February 2022 with a deadline for statements within 12 weeks. Slightly less than 50 statements were received from various parties. On a request for additional information, Equinor decided to conduct a complementary assessment on 30 June 2022.
  • The deadline for statements on the complementary assessment is within 2 weeks.
  • Socio-economic profitability and climate risks are not illuminated in the complementary assessment as this will be included in the profitability and uncertainty analysis in the development part. According to the guidelines the plan for development and operation, part 1, will include a qualitative stress test towards financial climate risks as the development’s break-even is compared with various scenarios for oil and gas price bands aligned with the goals of the Paris Agreement, including the 1.5-degree goal, as resolved by the Storting.
  • The Ministry of Petroleum and Energy will consider whether obligation of the Wisting field licensees to conduct an impact assessment has been met, and the government will submit its recommendation to the Storting with a final evaluation as to whether the field development is recommended.
  • The operator will give feedback on each individual statement on the impact assessment and complementary impact assessment no later than at the submission of the plan for development and operation and the plan for installation and operation.
  • The plan for installation and operation for Wisting is scheduled for the end of 2022.