Wintershall dismisses doubts around Nova tie-back

Wintershall has dismissed concerns that a ruling from the Norwegian energy ministry could cause issues for its Nova project.

The German oil firm intends to tie back its Nova project to Neptune Energy’s Gjoa platform.

According to a news report, a recent ruling from the Norwegian ministry stating that partners in the tie back will not need to cover operational costs on the host platform has caused Neptune to rethink, and potentially prioritise its own resources.

Neptune’s Cara discovery is another option for a tie-back to Gjoa.

Nova (formerly known as Skarfjell) is an own-operated development by Wintershall in the Norwegian North Sea, which is expected to produce around 80 million barrels of oil equivalent.

A plan for development and operation (PDO) is set to be submitted to Norway’s petroleum and energy ministry in May, after Wintershall awarded subsea contracts worth $230million for the project last week.

Wintershall’s exploration head, Martin Bachmann, is confident their plans will go through despite any concerns from Neptune.

“We’re far advanced. We will submit the PDO in May. We’ve just awarded contracts for the subsea systems so we’re really on the home stretch.

“There is now the commercial agreement that needs to be finalised for the tying-in to Gjoa.

“The Norwegian ministry has given a ruling there which stakes out the boundary conditions quite well, the rules are quite clear in Norway, so we will conclude these negotiations.”

He added that, despite the reports, there won’t be an issue with making progress.

“I find it an interesting piece of negotiating through the press which, generally, is not much appreciated by the Norwegian authorities.

“Ok, Neptune is still new in the country but I’m sure they are professional and know what needs to be done.

“The rules are very clear in Norway in terms of what’s the priority in terms of how capacity is used so that’s why I am quite sure that when we sit down with the people who are familiar with all that we will make progress quite quickly.”

A spokesman for Neptune said the company has nothing to add to Mr Bachmann’s comments.


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