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Northern Lights CCS project : Equinor and partners complete drilling of exploration well

Oil and gas giants Equinor, Shell, and Total have reported positive results from the drilling of an exploration well 31/5-7 Eos located south of the Troll field in the North Sea as part of the Northern Lights CCS project.

The drilling of the wildcat well 31/5-7 is to study if the reservoir in the Johansen formation is suitable for the storage of CO₂.

Northern Lights is the first-ever carbon capture and storage project (CCS Project) on the Norwegian Continental Shelf.

The exploration well is in the deep Johansen formation located offshore the south-west coast of Norway which is a potential site for large-scale CO2 storage.

The well has been drilled by the West Hercules drilling facility in the northern part of the North Sea, 17.5 kilometers southwest of Troll A , nearly 100 kilometers west of Bergen.

Geir Tungesvik – Equinor senior vice president for project development said: “This is an important milestone in realising the possibility of a CO₂ storage on the Norwegian continental shelf.

“The preliminary results from the well so far have been positive. The drilling results will now be further analysed before concluding.”

The Northern Lights template before being installed on the seabed

The Northern Lights template before being installed on the seabed. Photo courtesy of Equinor ASA.

Equinor also said that considerable amounts of data that was acquired through coring, logging, sampling and a production test prove the presence of a sealing shale layer and the presence of good quality sandstone in the reservoir.

As part of the project’s final decision process, the partners of the Northern Lights CCS project are analyzing the drilling results.

The collaboration said that it will be sharing the well data with external parties which will ensure the necessary development of CCS-projects (carbon, capture and storage) in the future as well.

The 31/5-7 well, which is located nearly 2,500 meters below the seabed, is the first well to be drilled in exploitation licence 001. The well will be used for injection and storage of CO₂ provided that the Northern Lights project gets approved.

Depending on the agreement between the partners and government authorities on an implementation agreement, as well as the environmental site assessment (ESA) approval, the investment decision is planned to be made in the spring of 2020.

The Northern Lights CCS project is subject to final approval by Norwegian authorities. It is part of the Norwegian full-scale CCS project. The full-scale project involves the capture of CO2 from industrial capture sources across the Oslo-fjord region and shipping of liquid CO2 from the locations to an onshore terminal located on the Norwegian west coast.

The liquefied CO2 will then be transported through pipeline to an offshore storage location in the North Sea where it will be permanently stored.

Eva Halland – the co-ordinator of Norwegian Petroleum Directorate’s CO2 storage project said: “It’s always exciting when an exploration well is drilled. That was also the case here, where we not only hoped to prove a water-filled reservoir, but a reservoir that would be well suited for injection and storage of CO2. The well absolutely seems to have done the job, and it is an important premise in the Norwegian full-scale project.”

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