Prestige prize for Gullfaks

January 27, 2005, 09:20 CET

The Norwegian Petroleum Directorate has given its prestigious improved oil recovery (IOR) prize for 2004 to Statoil’s Gullfaks field in the North Sea.

This award has been presented to the group together with its licence partners, Hydro and Petoro, for extracting more oil and extending the producing life of the field.

In its citation, the NPD notes that “more structures have been identified through outstanding sub-surface work. We would not be surprised if the licence comes up with more good news...in years to come.

“Motivated and intelligent teams, which have been authorised by the licensees to achieve something, are doing wonders time and again.”

Extensive use of new well technology, additional wells and phasing-in of satellite fields are given special mention by the regulatory agency.

“This prize is a recognition of the wide-ranging work we’re doing, and the organisation has every reason for pride,” says Lars Christian Bacher, operations vice president for Gullfaks.

“We have expanded recoverable oil reserves in the main field from 1.3 billion barrels in 1986 to 2.2 billion today. And our ambition is to get this figure up to more than 2.5 billion.”

Statoil also aims to improve recoverable reserves in the satellites around Gullfaks from 260 million barrels to 350 million.

Gullfaks is the first Norwegian field to adopt underbalanced drilling, where the pressure in the borehole is lower than in the reservoir. This makes it possible to recover substantial additional volumes of oil compared with conventional methods.

“A number of prospects can be reached with long platform-drilled wells in the Gullfaks area, and we’re going to be hunting for these in the time to come,” says Mr Bacher.

Statoil found oil in the Topas prospect last year with a well drilled from the C platform, and also intends to drill a 10,000-metre production well on the Gulltopp discovery.

In addition, the group is planning three new exploration wells in the Gullfaks area – two as extensions of existing producers and one as a free-standing well dubbed Apollo.

This is the sixth time the NPD’s annual IOR prize has been awarded, and the second time Statoil has won it as operator.

The Norne licence in the Norwegian Sea received the award in 2001 for developing a method which uses bacteria to get more oil out of the reservoir.