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    Spirit Drills Duster in Barents Sea


Exploration in the Barents Sea has largely failed to live up to the initial hype.

by: Joseph Murphy

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Spirit Drills Duster in Barents Sea

The UK's Spirit Energy has drilled a dry well in the Barents Sea, the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate (NPD) said on July 6, marking the latest exploration disappointment in the region.

The well, sunk 110 km north of the Johan Castberg oilfield, had the primary goal of proving petroleum in Middle Jurassic to Upper Triassic reservoir rocks. Its secondary target was acquiring data to improve the understanding of Lower Cretaceous layers.

No hydrocarbons were found at the primary targets, while only trace amounts of petroleum were encountered in the secondary one. The well has been classified as dry, the NPD said.

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.

This marks the first well at production licence 719, awarded to Spirit's parent company Centrica in 2013. Spirit operates the licence with a 50% stake, while Russia's Lukoil has 30% and Norway's Aker BP has 20%.

The well, drilled to a vertical depth of 1,777 metres below sea level, in waters 466 metres deep, has been plugged and abandoned, the NPD said. It was completed by the Leiv Eiriksson rig, which is moving to the North Sea to sink another wildcat at the Spirit-operated production licence 780.