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North Sea essential for gas and oil production

26/02/2016 by Sharon Shahzad

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Experts have said that the North Sea remains an “engine” of gas and oil production. In fact, the Norwegian Petroleum Authority has claimed that the country’s sector of sea still contains over half of its remaining hydrocarbon resources.

In a new report, in which the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate (NPD) spoke about the North Sea’s valuable resources, it was revealed that around 51 per cent of hydrocarbons are yet to be extracted. The remaining 49 per cent are spread evenly between the Barents Sea and the Norwegian Sea, the authority said. As a result, the NPD suggested that the North Sea remains “the engine in Norwegian petroleum activity.” Norway’s North Sea operation currently spans some 65 fields, compared to just one in the Barents Sea and 16 in the Norwegian Sea.

As well as outlining the location of remaining hydrocarbons, the NPD also forecast new results for the total resources available. From 2015’s estimate, it’s now thought that the country’s continental shelf holds around 14.2 billion standard cubic metres of oil equivalents (Sm3oe). Of these, around 47 per cent have already been sold and delivered, the NPD confirmed. As a result, it’s suggested that some 7.6 billion Sm30e can still be produced, with 4.7 billion already proven resources. Meanwhile, about 38 per cent, or 2.9 Sm3oe, is yet to be discovered.

The potential of undiscovered resources means that exploration activity is set to grow across the region. In 2015, explorations discovered yields of around 30 million Sm3oe. In total, 56 exploration wells were made, with 16 discoveries being reported last year. Of these, ten were located in the North Sea, whilst six wells that proved to have resources were in the Norwegian Sea. Estimates are still uncertain as the discoveries in some of the wells are still undergoing evaluation. There are also probably undiscovered oil and gas resources that are recoverable. However, they have not yet been proven via drilling methods.

Currently, the NPD reviews their forecast for undiscovered resources every other year. The latest estimates were calculated last year, with the volume of undiscovered hydrocarbons forecast to be around 2,920 million Sm3oe. This is a rise of 85 million Sm3oe from the accounts from 2014. However, whilst the North Sea is currently providing much of Norway’s oil, it’s the Barents Sea that is suggested to hold the majority of the yet-to-be-discovered resources. The rest is likely to be equally spread between the Norwegian Sea and the North Sea.

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