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Equinor has completed the appraisal of the Cape Vulture oil discovery in the Norwegian Sea, confirming up to 70 million recoverable barrels of oil potential, which more than doubles the remaining oil reserves to be produced at the nearby Norne field that has been operational since 1997.
The Norne field had been originally planned to shut down in 2014, but its life has been extended through 2036, and the Cape Vulture oil discovery will increase production, Equinor said on Thursday.
The Cape Vulture discovery is 7 kilometers (4 miles) northwest of the production vessel on the Norne field.
Cape Vulture, discovered in 2017 and appraised now, highlights the ambition of operators to ‘do more with less’ and hook up adjacent fields to existing production platforms.
“Exploration results like Cape Vulture are essential to Equinor. We will explore for this type of resources in the years ahead. Discoveries like this will be key to supporting our ambition to extend the lifespan of existing infrastructure,” Nick Ashton, Equinor’s senior vice president, Exploration, Norway & UK, said in the company statement.
“The appraisal well confirms a new play on the Nordland Ridge in the Norwegian Sea,” Ashton added.
There is still a lot of oil to be discovered on the Norwegian Continental Shelf, the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate (NPD) says, estimating that the undiscovered resources are equal to around 40 Johan Castberg fields. Johan Castberg in the Barents Sea is estimated to have recoverable resources of 450-650 million barrels of oil equivalent, field operator Equinor says.
Another Equinor-developed field, the giant Johan Sverdrup in the North Sea, is slated to start production in late 2019 and will be the main contributor to Norway’s rising oil production until 2023.
But from the mid-2020s onward, production offshore Norway will start to decline “so making new and large discoveries quickly is necessary for maintaining production at the same level from the mid-2020s,” Torgeir Stordal, Director exploration at the NPD, said in the directorate’s 2018 resource and exploration report in June.
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
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Tsvetana is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing for news outlets such as iNVEZZ and SeeNews.