Wintershall Dea Norge, a subsidiary of Germany’s oil and gas company Wintershall Dea, has now secured all necessary approvals from the Norwegian authorities to start production from a field, which will be tied back to the Neptune Energy-operated Gjøa platform in the North Sea off Norway.

The Norwegian Petroleum Directorate (NPD) revealed on Thursday that Wintershall Dea has been granted consent to start production from the Nova field in the North Sea.

The field is being developed with two seabed templates – one for oil production and one for water injection (to increase oil recovery) – tied back to the existing Neptune Energy-operated Gjøa platform in the Gjøa field for processing and export.

Wintershall Dea estimates the Nova field’s reserves at about 14 million standard cubic metres of oil equivalent (90 million bbls o.e.). The field is located in the production licence 418, which was awarded in APA 2007. Discovered in 2012, the Nova field – former Skarfjell – secured approval for the plan for development and operation (PDO) in 2018.

Kalmar Ildstad, the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate’s Director of licence management, remarked: “We’re glad to see that Nova is ready for production to start. Nova will help utilise available capacity in existing infrastructure and ensure extended operation of the Gjøa platform, which is the only hub in the north-eastern part of the North Sea.”

On Monday, the Petroleum Safety Authority (PSA) confirmed that it has given Wintershall Dea consent for use of the facilities at Nova field, which is located in the northern part of the North Sea, west of Sognefjorden, between the Vega and Gjøa fields. The water depth at the site is 367 meters.

All systems go for Wintershall Dea to bring North Sea tie-back on stream
Gjoa platform; Credit: Neptune Energy/Jan Inge Haga

Once online, the Nova field will be the fourth subsea tie-back to Gjøa platform. Wintershall Dea believes that the use of existing infrastructure enables effective extraction of the resources and Nova will be sustainably operated with hydropower from shore through Gjøa, which is electrified with power from shore.

In May 2022, Wintershall Dea inked a deal with Norway’s OKEA to sell its stakes in three North Sea fields for about $114 million. This includes the sale of 6 per cent of the Nova development.

Once this deal has been completed, Wintershall Dea Norge as the operator of the Nova field development will own 39 per cent, with other partners comprising OKEA (6 per cent), Sval Energi (25 per cent), Spirit Energy Norway (20 per cent), and ONE-Dyas Norge (10 per cent), which agreed in March 2022 to sell its stake to Pandion Energy.

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To remind, drilling on Nova originally started at the end of October 2020 but was paused following an incident with one of the x-mas trees and the West Mira rig. As a result of the incident, the contract for the drilling rig West Mira was terminated in May 2021 and Wintershall Dea hired a Saipem-owned rig for the drilling of three production wells and three water injection wells through two subsea templates.

As previously reported, Wintershall Dea started the last part of the Nova drilling campaign from the Scarabeo 8 semi-submersible rig in November 2021.

Wintershall Dea expects oil production from the Nova field to start up around 31 July 2022 while the water injection system will be completed in September.