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Equinor Makes Profitable Oil Discovery In Norway’s North Sea

Norway’s Equinor said on Monday that it had made an oil discovery in the North Sea that could be quickly tied in to existing infrastructure—one of the company’s goals in exploration drilling in the more mature areas offshore Norway.

The Telesto exploration well on the Norwegian Continental Shelf (NCS) in the North Sea found oil and resources are estimated at 12-28 million barrels of recoverable oil, said Equinor, which operates the acreage in partnership with Petoro, ConocoPhillips, and Repsol.

“These are profitable barrels that can be quickly tied in to existing infrastructure and generate substantial revenues for society. Infrastructure-led exploration is an important part of our roadmap for the NCS,” said Nick Ashton, Equinor’s senior vice president for exploration in Norway and the UK.

“We have set ourselves an ambitious goal of sustaining high production from the NCS for decades, and discoveries like this are essential towards this end. It will be natural to tie in the resources to the Visund A platform,” Gunnar Nakken, Equinor’s senior vice president for Operations West, said.

Despite cost controls, increased efficiency, and higher activity offshore Norway, oil production at Western Europe’s largest oil producer fell in 2018 compared to 2017 and is further expected to drop this year to its lowest level since 1988.

Norway’s oil production is expected to jump in 2020 through 2023, thanks to the start up in late 2019 of Johan Sverdrup—the North Sea giant, as operator Equinor calls it. With expected resources of 2.1 billion—3.1 billion barrels of oil equivalent, Johan Sverdrup is one of the largest discoveries on the NCS ever made.

However, after Johan Sverdrup and after Johan Castberg in the Barents Sea scheduled for first oil in 2022, Norway doesn’t have major oil discoveries and projects to sustain its oil production after the middle of the 2020s.

The Norwegian Petroleum Directorate (NPD) started warning last year that 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.”  

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By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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