Statoil has confirmed their new oil field discovery will be classified as a giant oil field discovery. Two reservoir zones called the Aldous and Avaldsnes are believed to be communicating the petroleum. Combined the discovery should come in between 500 million and 1.2 billion barrels of recoverable oil equivalent. Note that’s ‘recoverable’ – making for a ‘giant’ qualifying discovery.
This news should really perk up the North Sea oil business and in the coming years take some supply pressure off future shipped in supplies. For many the new oil will keep a lot of jobs slots occupied and may open some reemployment opportunity.
If the upper part of the oil bearing interval strikes and can made to flow petroleum, the discovery will be one of the ten largest oil finds ever on the Norwegian continental shelf (NCS). Statoil has a 40% stake both in license PL 265, where Aldous was discovered, and in PL 501, where the Avaldsnes discovery was made.
Tim Dodson, Statoil’s executive vice president for Exploration said during the August 16th 2011 press conference, “Aldous/Avaldsnes is a giant oil discovery, and according to our estimates the combined discovery may make the top 10 list of NCS oil discoveries. Norway has not seen a similar oil discovery since the mid-eighties.”
This announcement caps a big year for Norway’s oil industry. It’s the third “high-impact discovery” for Statoil as an operator in 2011. In April of this year the 250 million barrel Skrugard oil discovery was made in the Barents Sea, and the 150-300 million barrel Peregrino South oil field was discovered offshore Brazil. Those range from 1.15 billion up to 1.75 billion barrels.
Dodson said, “The discoveries are a result of Statoil’s exploration strategy of prioritizing high-impact opportunities, while focusing on our established core areas.”
The technical details as of August 8th are a minimum 65-metre oil column has been confirmed in Aldous Major South well 16/2-8 in the North Sea. The discovery was made in Jurassic sandstone in a very good quality reservoir consisting of coarse-grained, unconsolidated sand. Sixty-five meters equals more than 210 feet of pay zone in sand – one of the most desired reservoir structures found in a large dimension.
The well has also established common oil/water contact (the communication noted above) between the Aldous and Avaldsnes structures, and according to preliminary estimates the combined discovery in the two licenses (PL 265 and PL 501) totals between 500 million and 1.2 billion barrels of recoverable oil equivalent. Between 200 and 400 million barrels of these resources have been discovered in well 16/2-8, with strong indications from well data of another 200 to 400 million barrels of recoverable oil equivalent in the same structure, whereas a resource base of 100 to 400 barrels previously has been estimated in the Avaldsnes structure (PL 501).
This information suggests the discovery may well increase in size as more drilling takes place. The discovery area is about 140 km west of Stavanger, Norway, in a water depth of 112 meters. Reservoir depth is about 1,900 meters. Nowadays these are comparatively shallow and low cost drilling and production conditions.
The well was drilled by the Transocean Leader drilling rig, which soon will spud Aldous Major North well 16/2-9 (PL265) to clarify the further potential and any communication with Aldous/Avaldsnes. In addition the partners plan further appraisal drilling in license PL 265 next year to clarify the full volume potential for a future development solution.
Dodson said, “As we said at the Capital Market Day event in New York in June, the NCS is a world-class petroleum province. The Aldous/Avaldsnes discoveries are evidence that the NCS is still attractive. Making a discovery of this size in a mature area shows that exploration is all about perseverance, creativity and obtaining new knowledge.”
This is an outstanding example of finding more resources when everyone though the oil was all pumped out. The new skills applied in more areas may well turn up even more oil. Perhaps a nudge to the Brits is in order for another look at their area of the North Sea.
The license allowed by Norway for Aldous Major South is in license 265, where Statoil is the operator and has a 40% interest. The other partners are Petoro (30%), Det norske oljeselskap (20%) and Lundin (10%). Avaldsnes is located in license 501. Lundin is the operator and has a 40% interest, whereas partners Statoil and Mærsk have 40% and 20% interests, respectively.
A very big “Congratulations” is in order for work and results that are quite welcome.