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Oil Major Makes 100 Million Barrel North Sea Discovery

Norway’s energy giant Equinor has made one of this year’s biggest discoveries in the North Sea estimated to contain up to 100 million barrels of oil equivalent in the most mature area of the basin.

“We are making one of this year’s biggest discoveries in the most mature area of the Norwegian continental shelf (NCS), not far from the Troll field. This demonstrates the opportunities that still exist for value creation and revenue from this industry,” Nick Ashton, Equinor’s senior vice president for exploration in Norway and the UK, said in a statement.

Equinor expects to tie back the discovery to existing infrastructure in this mature area. Due to the proximity of existing infrastructure, the discovered resources can be recovered with good profitability and at low carbon dioxide (CO2) intensity, Ashton said.

Last month, Equinor started up the giant oil field Johan Sverdrup in Norway’s North Sea, and production has already reached a rate of above 200,000 barrels per oil per day.

Yet, operators offshore Norway have not struck huge fields like Johan Sverdrup recently, so they rely on smaller finds close to existing infrastructure to sustain production in one of the world’s most mature offshore basins.

This year is on track to be the best year for discoveries offshore Norway since 2014, according to Rystad Energy.

Equinor’s latest discovery is estimated to hold recoverable resources of around 70 million barrels of oil equivalent, Rystad says, noting that this discovery brings total year-to-date discoveries to 520 million boe, above the 518 million boe found offshore Norway in 2018.

Norway’s oil production fell in 2018 compared to 2017 and is further expected to drop this year to its lowest level since 1988.

Johan Sverdrup and Johan Castberg in the Barents Sea scheduled for first oil in 2022 will boost production between 2020 and 2025, but after that, in the absence of major discoveries, Norway will struggle to sustain its oil production.

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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