UK-based offshore operator Neptune Energy has announced the start of a drilling campaign on the Fenja field offshore Norway, following spudding of the first well.

Fenja is the first operated development project on the Norwegian Shelf by Neptune. It is estimated to contain 97m barrels of oil equivalent (boe) and will deliver approximately 40,000 boe per day at peak.

The Fenja oil and gas field includes the Pil and Bue oil discoveries in production license PL586, located in blocks 6406 / 11 and 12 of the Norwegian North Sea.

The license is jointly owned by Neptune Energy Norge (30%), Var Energi (45%), Suncor Energy Norge (17.5%) and DNO North Sea (7.5%).

Neptune Energy Norway Projects and Engineering director Erik Oppedal said: “Sunday’s drilling start-up represents an important milestone in the project. The aim of these first geo-pilots is to gain a better understanding of the reservoir and to optimise the location of the production wells.

“As our first operated development in the Norwegian North Sea, Fenja is an exciting project for Neptune and underlines the importance of the region to our geographically-diverse business.”

The field will be developed as a subsea tie-back to the Equinor-operated Njord A platform, which is 36km away from Pil and Bue discoveries.

According to Neptune, the offshore field will be developed via two subsea templates with a total of six wells. The development will comprise of water injection and gas injection flowlines, tied-back to the Njord A floating production facility.

In response to delays resulting from the impact of coronavirus, the field partners agreed that drilling should be performed in a phased manner over the next two years.

This year’s drilling programme will be managed by the semi-submersible West Phoenix, which will include two top holes and two geo-pilots.  It is expected to be carried out over 85 days.

First production from Fenja field is expected to follow by the last quarter of next year.

Last week, Neptune Energy announced it was all set to partner with Dutch energy infrastructure firm Gasunie on the PosHYdon green hydrogen project.

In February this year, Neptune Energy produced first gas from the L5a-D4 well in the deepest producing gas field in the Dutch North Sea.