Equinor presents Wisting impact assessment

Source: press release, 1 February 2022

Wisting in the Barents Sea (illustration: Equinor)
Wisting in the Barents Sea (illustration: Equinor)

Equinor has, on behalf of the partnership, presented an impact assessment for development and operation of Wisting. The plan for development and operation (PDO) is scheduled to be finalised at the end of 2022.

The impact assessment to be issued for public consultation is covering both the development phase and the operations phase of the Wisting project in the Barents Sea. In December, Equinor entered into an agreement with Lundin, whereby Equinor will continue its Wisting operatorship into the operations phase.

The Wisting discovery is of considerable size, containing close to 500 million barrels of oil equivalent. Expected investments are in the range of NOK 60 to 75 billion.

Social impact
A development and operation of Wisting will have major positive impacts on society locally, regionally and nationally. Both the development phase and the operations phase will help create substantial value in Northern Norway and for Norwegian society.

“The Wisting field development will be a large and complex project, utilising necessary experience and expertise both in the company and the industry. The chosen concept is robust and adapted to Barents Sea operation, while at the same time well suited for Norwegian suppliers to be able to compete for major assignments,” says Siv Irene Skadsem, vice president for new assets on the Norwegian continental shelf (NCS).

The Norwegian share of goods and service deliveries to the field development is calculated to be more than NOK 35 billion, representing minimum 50% of total investments. These calculations have been made before all contracts are awarded. Equinor aims to increase the Norwegian share as contracts are awarded.

There will also be major spinoffs in the operations phase, and the Norwegian share of the operating costs is estimated to total around NOK 1.7 billion per year over 30 years, which is the expected field life.

Location
Plans call for both the supply base and the helicopter base to be established in Hammerfest. Distance and sailing time to the field, access to existing infrastructure and expertise as well as capacity and synergies with existing users are conditions that have been emphasised in the selection.

“When considering the location of operational support functions, it has been important to us to find a robust industrial solution that utilises and builds on existing competence communities in Hammerfest and Harstad in a good and balanced way with a long-term perspective,” says Kristin Westvik, Equinor’s senior vice president for exploration and production north operations.

“To build on the communities that Equinor already has in Northern Norway, we want to split the operating model between Harstad and Hammerfest. We plan to establish an onshore control room and operational support tasks in Hammerfest, while functions related to administrative operation and other technical functions are to be in Harstad,” says Westvik.

The plans are being further detailed towards an investment decision to be made at the end of this year.

Concept selection and power from shore
Adopted in 2020, the management plan for the Barents Sea forms a framework for activities in the area. Equinor is in close contact with various regulatory bodies to ensure that technical and operational solutions meet relevant requirements and expectations.

The concept chosen for the Wisting development consists of a circular, floating production and storage unit (FPSO), with power from shore as an integrated part of the technical solution. The oil will be processed and stored on the FPSO before it is shipped to the market.

Equinor and the industry have ambitious plans for reducing greenhouse gas emissions from NCS activities, and the Wisting partners focus on reducing the carbon footprint of production to the lowest extent feasible. There is not enough gas in the reservoir to use own gas to power the field throughout its life, and gas import is both technically demanding and costly. Electrification is therefore the best solution, as it will also have the lowest emissions during the production period.

In the operations phase the Wisting power demand will be around 80 MW. The power cable will be around 340 kilometres long.

The impact assessment process is an open process, and its purpose is to ensure that players with an opinion on the development have an opportunity to express their view. The deadline for the consultation process is 12 weeks from publication.

Wisting licence partners: Equinor Energy AS (35%), Lundin Energy Norway AS (35%), Petoro AS (20%) and INPEX Idemitsu Norge AS (10%).