Eni set to start drilling inside the Arctic Circle at Goliat field in the Barents Sea
STAVANGER -- The Norwegian unit of Italian energy giant Eni has finally received approval from the Norwegian authorities for the start-up of its drilling operation in the much awaited Goliat oilfield in the Barents Sea.
The company said that it intends to start the drilling program this month for the estimated 50-day probe in production license 229. The appraisal well − 7122/7-6 − is the first in the venture and the Saipem semisubmersible rig Scarabeo 8 will perform the drilling operation.
Under the five-year, $840 million worth contract, this campaign includes the drilling of the additional 22 development wells apart from the appraisal well. The development well drilling is intended to start in November and will likely take 3.5 years.
The drilling campaign of the filed is already running three years behind schedule due to construction delays related to the field's production unit at South Korean yard Hyundai Heavy Industries. Hence, the start-up of Goliat field, Norway's first operating oilfield in the Barents Sea, was extended to the third quarter of 2014 from the earlier target of late 2013.
Owing to the delays and other manufacturing alterations on the floater, along with elevated equipment prices and longer lead times on deliveries, the cost of the project spiraled by 20% to $6.5 billion.
The field was awarded to Eni in the 'Barents Sea Round' in 1997 and hit its first oil in 2000. Eni operates the field with a 65% stake, while Statoil enjoys the remaining 35% interest.