The First of its Kind: The Wisting Project in the Barents

With over 15 years of experience in the drilling industry Senior Drilling Engineer Yngve Frøyland has worked on a variety of projects on the Norwegian Continental Shelf, “I studied Petroleum Engineering, specialized in drilling, at University in Stavanger. My father has worked offshore for all of his life, 25 years as a drilling supervisor, and he inspired me to go and work in the oil business. When I started working in 1999 I was always working on production drilling projects both onshore and offshore on fixed platforms, but in 2009 I decided to work in exploration drilling because I needed new challenges.”

The Wisting Project

In his last assignment for OMV Norway, Yngve got the opportunity to board the Wisting project in the Barents Sea. The Wisting field is the Northernmost oil discovery in Norway, “that was a very exciting project to be a part of,” explains Yngve. “This is the first horizontal drilling operation for an appraisal well in the Barents Sea and it was the first operation of its kind in the offshore industry.”

The discovery well in 2013 proved that the reservoir was only 250 metres below the seabed and several vertical appraisal wells were already drilled prior to the horizontal approach. To be able to drill a horizontal well the drilling team had to start building the angle already from just below the seabed. “We are used to working with wells that are aiming for a reservoir at 1500-2000 metres vertical depth,” says Yngve. “It was quite a challenge with this shallow reservoir because we had to build the angle 3-4 times as fast as a normal deviated well to be able to be horizontal within the 250 metre interval. A DLS (dog leg severity) of up to 12 degrees/30 metres was achieved and luckily the casing strings were run without any significant challenges.”

The purpose of the project was not only to find a presence of hydrocarbons in the undrilled Wisting Central South and Central West segments, but also to prove the concept of horizontal drilling of shallow reservoirs in the Barents Sea.

Opportunity for discovery

Yngve has been working through Atlas’ team based in Stavanger and now works as a senior drilling consultant, “It’s my responsibility to plan wells and follow up both onshore and offshore in the execution phase. It’s the daily dynamic that gets me out of bed every day, this industry is unpredictable and it’s never boring carrying out an offshore drilling operation. Quite often you will have to adjust the drilling plan and adapt to potential problems. There is so much variety in both exploration and production drilling and you have the opportunity to be a part of so many great opportunities and discoveries.”