RWE Dea Norge has announced a major gas discovery near the Heidrun field in the Norwegian Sea.

Exploration well 6507/07-14S has encountered gas in a 150m column, and preliminary estimates of the size of the discovery range between five and 18 billion standard cubic metres of recoverable gas.

The well, located in production licence 435, Zidane, was drilled to a vertical depth of 4,477m below sea level.

“This excellent new discovery increases our hydrocarbon resources and shows further growth potential on the Norwegian continental shelf,” said COO of RWE Dea AG, Ralf to Baben.

The well, which was drilled by the Bredford Dolphin rig, will now be permanently plugged and abandoned, RWE said.

RWE Dea Norge has a 40% operating interest in the Zidane licence, while the other partners include Edison International Norway, Maersk Oil Norway and Norwegian Energy Company, each holding 20% stake.