Back in August we looked at the world’s leading oil discovery firm, Statoil, out of Norway and its new field. Statoil confirmed their new oil field would be a giant that at that date would be a 500 million to 1.2 billion recoverable barrel field. That’s changed now, and for western hemisphere consumers, great news.
Statoil’s major oil find, described as a “giant” by an investment partner last month is giving new life to fading North Sea output was significant. Statoil plans to give a more precise estimate of the size within a couple of weeks.
The little companies aren’t holding back on suggesting the new size. Sweden’s Lundin Petroleum is saying that Avaldsnes/Aldous Major South, which could already be the biggest oil find made so far this year, may hold 1.2 billion to 2.6 billion barrels of oil equivalent. At the peak estimate of 2.6 billion barrels it more than doubles the reserve.
2.6 billion barrels would be the third-largest find ever made on the Norwegian shelf. The original Statfjord and Ekofisk fields, which kicked off Norway’s oil era in the 1970s, each held more than 3 billion barrels.
Information is leaking out prompting outside analysts to up their estimates early too. Statoil said through a spokesman to the media that an appraisal well drilled at the site proved an oil column of 50-55 meters (164-180 feet) quoted saying, “Discoveries are always positive, and this is a significant oil column.”
The new exploratory well is in the Avaldsnes/Aldous Major South field. The improvement comes from the Avaldsnes horizon.
North Sea comparisons need to include the British side to the west. Buzzard, Britain’s largest oilfield, which feeds into the benchmark UK Forties crude oil production stream, was found 10 years ago with reserves of around 500 million barrels oil equivalent. BP’s current news has just announced it will be developing off the west of Shetland the 640 million-barrel Clair Ridge oil field.
Its worthwhile to note that over the last 10 years, new oilfield discoveries in the British sector of the North Sea have contained only averages of around 20 million barrels each. Both sides of the North Sea are increasing reserves at much larger rates.
The Norwegian government agency, the Petroleum Directorate, which manages Norway’s oil and gas resources, is being cautious, suggesting production could begin in 2018-2019. Lundin is working toward 2017 and Statoil 2018.
For now the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate and Statoil, aren’t confirming Lundin’s numbers as they complete more analysis on the size of the find, although both acknowledge the find is undoubtedly large.
Norway’s North Sea oil production peaked in 2001 and has fallen since. In 2010 the Nordic country produced 1.8 million barrels per day. It looks like the production rate will soon stabilize and climb back up.
The Avaldsnes/Aldous Major South field could be 3rd biggest ever-made in Norway’s side of the North Sea. We’ll be looking for the oil type and quality news and get a sense of how this oil will affect the world oil refining system and pricing. Summing up old discovery initial, secondary, tertiary production and these new finds are going to make the North Sea an even more important supply source for Europe.
The North Sea Hunt isn’t over yet.