Neptune Energy has started drilling on the Dugong appraisal well in Production Licence 882 located in the Norwegian North Sea.

The Dugong well is being drilled together with Dugong licence partners using the CIMC-owned Deepsea Yantai semi-submersible rig.

Neptune Energy estimates that the Dugong discovery holds recoverable resources between 40 million barrels of oil equivalent (MMboe) and 120MMboe.

Neptune Energy Norway managing director Odin Estensen said: “This exciting new discovery is located close to existing infrastructure and has the potential to become a new core growth area for Neptune in Norway.

“The ongoing activity underlines our commitment to investing in the region and to growing our presence in Norway.”

Neptune owns a 45% stake in the Dugong licence, which is located 158km west of Florø, Norway, at a water depth of 330m.

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The other partners in the licence are Petrolia NOCO (20%), Concedo (15%) and Idemitsu Petroleum Norge (20%).

Neptune Energy Norway subsurface director Steinar Meland said: “The main objective of the appraisal well is to collect the data necessary to help provide certainty related to the reservoir, structure and recoverable resources, so the partnership can optimise the development solution.

“Data from this well will also provide valuable information to help de-risk additional exploration and development opportunities in the licence and in the surrounding area.”

Neptune and its partners are planning to drill an exploration well targeting the Dugong Tail prospect in the licence in the third quarter of this year.

Last year, Neptune Energy secured a drilling permit from the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate (NPD) for two wildcat wells in the North Sea.

The drilling programme for wells 34/4-15 S and 34/4-15 A relates to the drilling of wildcat wells in PL882.