Equinor has secured a permit from the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate (NPD) to drill exploration wells in the northern North Sea offshore Norway.

The wildcat wells, namely 35/11-24S and subsequent appraisal 35/11-24A, will be drilled using the West Hercules drilling facility.

West Hercules will be deployed after the completion of drilling Equinor’s wildcat well 30/5-2 in production licence (PL) 878.

The current drilling programme is with respect to drilling a wildcat well and an appraisal well in PL248 C.

Equinor is the operator of the licence with an operating interest of 35%. Partners in the licence include Norwegian oil and gas companies Petoro (40%) and Wellesley Petroleum (25%).

According to NPD, the well will be drilled approximately 7km west of the Fram field.

In a press statement, NPD said: “Production licence 248 C was carved out from production licence 248 on 9 April 2013. These are the third and fourth exploration wells to be drilled in the licence.

“The permit is contingent on the operator securing all other permits and consents required by other authorities prior to commencing the drilling activity.”

Last month, NPD reported that Equinor concluded the drilling of wildcat well 35/10-6, near the Fram field in the northern North Sea.

The 35/10-6 well is the first well in production licence 827 S, drilled to a vertical depth of 1,907m by the West Hercules drilling rig. It has now been plugged and abandoned.

In February, Equinor commissioned a new gas module for the Troll C platform in the UK North Sea, which will improve production from the Fram field.

In January, Equinor announced plans to cut greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions generated at offshore fields and onshore plants in Norway.