Austrian firm OMV and Norwegian petroleum company Equinor have signed two memoranda of understanding (MoUs) on collaboration on the Hades/Iris discovery and the Wisting development in the Norwegian Continental Shelf.

Under the terms of one MoU, Equinor will assume the role of operator of Wisting in the development phase, while OMV will be the operator in the operating phase.

Equinor will lead the project execution and fabrication and OMV personnel will have leading positions within subsurface work, drilling operations and activities related to the operating phase. Transfer of the operator role to Equinor is expected in the third quarter of 2019.

After commencement of production, the operatorship will revert to OMV (Norge), subject to government approval.

The Hades/Iris gas and condensate discovery by OMV is located close to producing fields where Equinor is the operator. Under the second MoU, the Austrian firm and Equinor plan to cooperate on working out the best solution for development and tie-in of Hades/Iris to existing infrastructure. OMV (Norge) will continue to be the operator.

The first exploration well in 2013 proved the presence of oil in the Wisting prospect, and five additional wells have been drilled in the area. Recoverable volumes are estimated at 440 million barrels of oil.

In the Wisting prospect, Equinor has a 35% ownership, with partners, including OMV Norge (25%), Petoro (20%) and Idemitsu Petroleum Norge (20%).

The gas and condensate discoveries in the Hades/Iris prospects were made in 2018 and preliminary estimates indicate a discovery size of 40 to 245 million barrels of oil equivalent. In the Hades/Iris development, OMV Norge has a 30% ownership, with partners, including Equinor (40%), DNO North Sea Norge (20%) and Spirit Energy Norway (10%).

OMV deputy chairman and executive board member responsible for upstream Johann Pleininger said: “A close collaboration between the largest owners in these two licences is based on the expertise we each have, and these agreements will strengthen diversity on the Norwegian shelf. Both of us will share competencies and continuity in these projects.”

Equinor Norway development and production executive vice-president Arne Sigve Nylund said: “It is important for us to create value and maintain activity on the Norwegian continental shelf for many decades ahead, in close cooperation with other players. We are pleased to take over and pursue such a well-prepared project through this cooperation.”