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Statoil has struck crude oil in the Kolje formation in the Barents Sea, near the Johan Castberg field, the company announced. Recoverable reserves at the location are estimated at 25 to 50 million barrels. According to Statoil’s news release, this is the first-time oil was found in this kind of formation in the Barents Sea, which, said the company’s senior vice president for exploration in Norway and the UK, “opens interesting opportunities.”
At the same time, Statoil announced the start of production at another field, the Gina Krog, in the North Sea. The field contains an estimated 224 million barrels of oil equivalent, with production expected to continue until 2032.
At the end of last month, Statoil got the go-ahead from the Petroleum Safety Authority of Norway to start drilling at another location in the Barents Sea, part of the Korpfjell prospect. Yet another drilling launch was announced for the Gemini Nord prospect, also in the Barents Sea.
Norway’s state oil company has so far identified five oil and gas prospects in the Barents Sea, and the latest reports show it is wasting no time in moving ahead with exploration in the Arctic part of its continental shelf. Earlier this year, the Petroleum Directorate revised upwards its earlier estimates of oil and gas reserves in the area, and substantially: the authority said undiscovered oil and gas in the Barents Sea is twice as much as previously estimated.
The Barents Sea holds almost 65 percent of Norway’s undiscovered offshore hydrocarbon reserves, with most of them concentrated in the northern part of the aquifer. According to the director general of the NPD, the Northern Barents Sea—which is half the size of the southern part—holds roughly the same amount of resources—meaning the Northern Barents Sea holds about twice as much potential per square kilometer as the southern part.
All this has made the Barents Sea a priority exploration area for the state energy major, which has partnered with a number of international peers, including Eni, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, OMV, and Lundin on various projects there.
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.