Offensive play for north

August 30, 2005, 16:30 CEST

"Hydro has been an active actor in northern areas since the start of drilling in the Barents Sea in 1980. We have Arctic expertise from Canada, have done business in Russia for 50 years and will be part of developing oil and gas resources in northern regions in the future," said Hydro Oil & Energy executive director, Tore Torvund, at the 'Petro 2005' conference in Harstad on Tuesday.

At the same time he emphasized to the authorities the need for the oil industry to get access to new acreage off the coast of Nordland in northern Norway.

"Nordland VI is deemed the most prospective area in the Norwegian offshore sector. To achieve more balanced exploration risk, we hope this area will be made available during the 20th concession round, after a complete administrative plan is established," Torvund said.

During recent weeks, Hydro has had a steady stream of positive news about new oil and gas finds in the Norwegian offshore sector. The oil find in the Brent geological formation under Troll West, the Peon gas find, and the discovery of oil in the J structure in the Oseberg Sør area will undoubtedly contribute to slowing the decline of oil and gas production in Norway.

Torvund also strongly emphasized that no significant commercial oil and gas finds have been made since Ormen Lange eight years ago. He additionally pointed out that Norway's authorities have had a policy of actively awarding new offshore acreages during the past five years and stressed the importance that such a policy must continue.

Arctic expertise

Conditions in the Norwegian Sea are harsh and can be compared to the Arctic. In his presentation, Torvund emphasized Hydro's Arctic expertise, honed through such engagements as oil production off the east coast of Canada since 1996.

Canada is Hydro's largest production area outside the Norwegian offshore sector. The company is a partner in two producing oil fields there, the Hibernia and Terra Nova fields offshore Newfoundland. Hydro is additionally part of the Hebron offshore field development. These experiences have provided Hydro valuable Arctic competence, including, for example, how to handle icebergs.

Torvund also used the occasion in Harstad to point out Hydro's presence in the Barents Sea region. Hydro has been active there since the drilling of the first exploration well in 1980 and has participated in 43 of the total 63 wells drilled in the Barents Sea to date. In 23 of these wells, Hydro was operator.

In addition, Hydro has solid knowledge from Russia, where the company has done business for over 50 years. Today, Hydro owns 40 percent of the onshore Kharyaga oil field in northwest Russia.

"We have faith that northern regions and northwest Russia will be important parts of the future energy supply picture. Our long-term presence in Russia and concrete production experience from Kharyaga will help us in developing the area's enormous gas resources," Torvund said.