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Exploration, Development Surging Offshore Norway, Report Finds

Published in Oil Industry News on Thursday, 19 July 2018


Graphic for News Item: Exploration, Development Surging Offshore Norway, Report Finds

Twenty field development projects are under way offshore Norway at present, according to the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate’s (NPD) review of activity across the shelf during the first half of the year.

So far this year the industry has drilled 86 new development wells on Norwegian fields, in line with the corresponding period in 2017.

No new fields have started production so far this year, although Equinor’s Aasta Hansteen project in the Norwegian Sea is due to come onstream during the fall.

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Two North Sea fields have ceased production: Brynhild and Oselvar.

In addition to the ongoing development projects, the Norwegian authorities received two new plans for development and operation (PDO) during 1Q, both in the North Sea: Wintershall’s application for Nova, a tieback to the Gjøa platform, and Equinor’s application for Troll Phase 3 which involves producing the gas cap in Troll Vest.

Later this summer Equinor is also likely to submit its PDO for Johan Sverdrup Phase 2.

Over the first half of the year the authorities approved applications to develop the Skogul, Yme, Ærfugl, Fenja, and Johan Castberg fields, Valhall Flank West, and the Snorre expansion project.

Collectively these projects represent investments of around NOK100 billion ($12.35 billion) and a total expected value of about NOK165 billion ($20.4 billion).

In addition, the authorities approved PDO exemption applications for deposits in the Gullfaks Sør area of the North Sea.

Ingrid Sølvberg, NPD’s director of development and operations, said: “We are seeing a record-breaking number of projects in the implementation phase, with more projects currently being planned.

“We find it particularly gratifying that several of the projects aim to increase recovery from mature fields; for example, Valhall, Snorre, and Njord. These are large and significant developments that will ensure that we recover more profitable oil and gas from the subsurface…

“At the same time, another important factor is good exploitation of available capacity in the already well-developed infrastructure on the Norwegian shelf. Our focus is on ensuring that the companies identify solutions for minor discoveries which include good utilization of the existing infrastructure. Many of these smaller discoveries are very profitable, both for the companies and for our society.”

Sølvberg called for more coordinated activity under which the companies look at larger areas as one, and work on joint solutions for developing new discoveries, as well as maximizing recovery from existing fields.”

This year the NPD expects 40-50 exploration wells to be drilled offshore Norway, up from 36 in 2016 and 2017.

“It is particularly important that more exploration wells are now being drilled in the North Sea and the Norwegian Sea, where additional resources must be identified and recovered while the infrastructure is still operational,” said exploration director Torgeir Stordal.

The NPD attributes the surge of interest in new exploration acreage in recent licensing rounds to new insight derived from better seismic and well results that have led to the creation of new exploration concepts; and access to infrastructure and lower costs.

“However, if production is to be maintained at a high level, there must be larger discoveries than what has been the average over the last 10 years. The possibility of making large discoveries is greatest in areas that have not been explored much,” Stordal said.

The 13 exploratory wells drilled across the shelf during the first six months of the year brought six discoveries: three were near-field finds in the North Sea, two in the Norwegian Sea (OMV’s gas/condensate find northwest of Equinor’s Morvin field and Wintershall’s gas/condensate discovery southwest of Aasta Hansteen); and one in the Barents Sea (Aker BP’s wildcat well 7221/12-1 - gas).

Of the exploration wells to follow during 2Q, around 30 will likely be in the North Sea, with eight to 10 in both the Norwegian Sea and the Barents Sea.

The NPD’s updated estimate for undiscovered resources on the Norwegian shelf is 4,000 MMcmoe, which according to Stordal can provide the basis for oil and gas production for many decades to come.

More than 60% of the oil and gas not yet been discovered will probably be found in the Barents Sea, with the rest distributed between the North Sea and the Norwegian Sea.

During the first half, the PD has conducted assessments that led to Tyr Exploration AS and Mime Petroleum AS being pre-qualified as licensees on the Norwegian shelf.

In addition, the authorities are processing applications from nine companies that are seeking pre-qualification either as licensee or operator (op):

JAPEX

NCS E&P

RN Nordic Oil (op)

Edge Petroleum

Antares Norge

Source Energy

Chrysaor

Dyas B.V.

Forties Petroleum (op).

Source: www.offshore-mag.com

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