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Equinor Energy has secured permission from the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate (NPD) to drill an exploration well in the North Sea.

The company will drill well 6407/1-9 using West Hercules drilling facility around 2km north-east of the 6407/1-5 S Maria appraisal well and 7km north-west of 6407/1-6 S Rodriguez.

The programme is associated with the drilling of a wildcat well in production licence 939, which includes parts of blocks 6406/3 and 6407/1. The exploration well will be the first one to be drilled in the licence.

Equinor operates the licence with a 70% ownership stake. PGNiG Upstream Norway is the other stakeholder.

In a statement, NPD said: “The permit is contingent on the operator securing all other permits and consents required by other authorities prior to commencing the drilling activity.”

Separately, the regulator announced that Equinor Energy has concluded the drilling of wildcat well 7322/6-1 S as the operator of production licence 722.

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By GlobalData

Located around 45km northwest of the 7324/8-1 (Wisting) oil discovery in the Barents Sea, the well was drilled to prove petroleum in Middle and Upper Triassic reservoir rocks (the Snadd Formation), and in upper Carboniferous and Lower Permian reservoir rocks (the Ørn Formation).

However, the well was classified as dry.

It encountered two sandstone intervals in the Snadd Formation and carbonate rocks in the Ørn Formation with poor to moderate reservoir qualities.

This was the first exploration well in production licence 722, which was awarded in the 22nd licensing round in 2013.

In April this year, Equinor gained a drilling permit for two wells in the Norwegian North Sea.