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Norway’s state-owned oil company Statoil has celebrated the five-billionth barrel of crude extracted from the North Sea Statfjord field, where production began in 1979. The Norwegian company operates the field in partnership with Exxon and British Centrica.
Since its inception, the development of Statfjord has generated US$181.1 billion (1.5 trillion kroner), Statoil’s executive VP for development and production in Norway, Arne Sigve Nylund, said at the official event marking the occasion. During the decades of its exploitation, the field yielded as much as 67 percent of its hydrocarbon reserves, a record-high rate, versus an initially estimate 40-percent rate of exploitation.
Statfjord’s productive life is not over yet and the operators plan to pump oil from it until 2025. This has been made possible by advancements in hydrocarbon reserve recovery technology and smart software solutions, the Statoil official added.
Some of these solutions allowed Statoil and partners to cut the costs of drilling by as much as 50 percent – a significant achievement in the currently depressed oil price environment.
There are 451 wells currently functioning in the field, with 70 more planned to be drilled.
Statoil says it has put much effort into innovations designed to boost its competitiveness and keep operations profitable even at low oil prices. Most recently, the company announced it had managed to reduce production costs at its newest discovery, the Johan Sverdrup filed in the North Sea, to US$25 per barrel, at the same time boosting its initial output estimate from it from 315,000-380,000 bpd in the first phase of development to 440,000 bpd, starting in 2019.
Statoil is also eyeing the huge untapped reserves in its portion of the Arctic, announcing last week it was ready to spend some US$7 billion on Arctic exploration. It can’t do this, however, without government backing and although the government seems to be on board with this foray into the Arctic, Norway’s political world has a strong environmentalist lobby, which is firmly against it.
By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com
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Irina is a writer for the U.S.-based Divergente LLC consulting firm with over a decade of experience writing on the oil and gas industry.