Many small finds

January 22, 2003, 00:30 CET

Eight new oil and gas discoveries were made on the Norwegian continental shelf in 2002, with Statoil as operator for six and a partner in the other two.

Contained in figures from the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate (NPD), these exploration results compare with 12 finds the year before.

“Many of the 2002 discoveries were small,” observes Tor Fjæran, senior vice president for new areas in Exploration & Production Norway.

“This underlines the fact that the NCS is a mature region, and that we need access to attractive new exploration acreage.”

Statoil was operator for three oil, one gas and one oil/gas discoveries in the Tampen area of the North Sea, and an oil find in the Norwegian Sea.

Taking account of sidetracks, which are not included in the NPD statistics, the group made discoveries in 10 of its 15 wells. This gives a discovery rate of 67 per cent.

“We still have faith in the NCS, although expectations for the deepwater parts of the Norwegian Sea have been downgraded somewhat in the wake of drilling results for 2002,” says Mr Fjæran.

He hopes that new offshore licence awards this year and next will help to boost exploration activity and yield more larger discoveries.

“We’re also awaiting the outcome of the environmental impact assessment for year-round petroleum operations in far northern waters being carried out for the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy.

“We hope and believe that this study will provide the basis for reopening the NCS northwards from the Lofoten islands.”

The exploration drilling programme on the NCS in 2003 is expected to total 15 wells.