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    Equinor Sinks Dry Well in Barents Sea


The well was drilled at the production licence containing the Castberg project.

by: Joseph Murphy

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Equinor Sinks Dry Well in Barents Sea

Norway's Equinor has failed to find hydrocarbons at a well 25 km south from the Johan Castberg field in the Barents Sea, the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate (NPD) reported on July 31, marking another exploration disappointment in the region.

The well was sunk at production licence 532 containing Castberg, which Equinor operates with a 50% interest, joined by partners Var Energi and Petoro with shares of 30% and 20%. The group had aimed to discover petroleum in Upper Triassic to Lower Jurassic layers, but found none. 

The well has been plugged and abandoned, and the Transocean Enabler rig used to drill it will now move to Castberg to drill production wells.

Exploration in the Barents Sea has largely failed to live up to the initial hype, with dry wells in recent years leading operators to scale back their activity in the frontier region. The NPD reported in early July that the UK's Spirit Energy had also drilled a dry well in the Barents.

This said, Equinor's exploration run at licence 532 has been successful. The latest borehole is the only one of 10 it has sunk at the site over the past decade that did not find either oil or gas. Castberg is due to flow its first oil in 2022 and is one of the latest remaining major discoveries off Norway yet to be brought on stream.