Global and Regional MarketsNewsThe Offshore Frontier

NOK 2.3 billion to be invested to recover more oil from Gullfaks

The Gullfaks partners have decided to drill seven new wells and improve oil recovery by 17 million bbl with good profitability. On behalf of the license partners, Arne Sigve NylundEquinor’s Executive Vice President for Development and Production Norway, presented an amended plan for development and operation (PDO) to Kjell-Børge Freiberg, Minister of Petroleum and Energy.

“Our ambition is to maintain profitable production from the Norwegian Continental Shelf (NCS) for several decades. Wells that can be drilled fast and at a low cost, near existing infrastructure, will be a major contributor,” Mr Nylund said.

The wells will be drilled in the Shetland Group, a carbonate reservoir that lies above the main reservoir at the North Sea Gullfaks field.

Illustration of the Gullfaks field.
A well test in 2012 proved the Gullfaks field had oil production potential.

Drilling on Gullfaks is challenging due to the carbonate reservoir. However, a well test in 2012 proved that this reservoir also had oil production potential. The Gullfaks partners have invested more than NOK 1 billion in production wells in this formation since 2013, which have so far produced more than 6 million bbl from Shetland/Lista phase 1.

As this reservoir could potentially produce more oil by use of water injection, the authorities requested the Gullfaks partners to submit an amended PDO in 2019.

The Gullfaks partners (Equinor, Petoro and OMV) are now ready to recover even more resources by use of water injection and new production wells in the Shetland/Lista phase 2 development. A total of seven horizontal wells are planned to be drilled by use of existing drilling facilities on Gullfaks.

“These formations that used to pose a challenge are now due to producing at a break-even below $30/bbl – I find that to be a nice bonus from Gullfaks,” Mr Nylund said.

The oil from Shetland/Lista is a small contribution to the total Gullfaks reserves, but a major contributor to the remaining field potential.

Furthermore, the project deepens knowledge of carbonate reservoir production, which can be used in other parts of the world.

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