New technology, new finds
Ole J. Martinsen, StatoilHydro's vice president for exploration research. (Photo: Marit Hommedal)
According to Mr Martinsen, StatoilHydro's focus on new technology development has already generated several interesting and promising methods.
"We're concentrating on developing new exploration technology which from experience gives new ideas and better solutions," he says.
"Development of new techniques and technology through long-term research forms the basis for the NCS breakthroughs we've made. Experience has also taught us that gathering of new data in old areas can produce extremely interesting results, in the same way as new data in new areas."
The discovery of Ormen Lange, where old data was re-examined with new ideas in a new area, is an example of such a breakthrough. Finds at the Statfjord, Oseberg and Troll fields illustrate how known exploration techniques can produce results when linked in with new data in new areas.
Googling for oil
Mr Martinsen reiterates that large areas of the NCS remain unexplored and that several opportunities lie in areas where operations are presently conducted.
"We need new technology and new ideas to move ahead," he says. "StatoilHydro's development of its own version of Google Earth, where all data can be viewed in context, is an example of what we're after. Together with Google, we have further developed the tool for use in our exploration activities.
"We have already observed good international results, including through use in the Middle East, and have great expectations for the technology's future use. Knowledge gained from such areas can be employed on the NCS."
An overall goal in all exploration activity is to reduce pre-drilling uncertainty to a minimum. Mr Martinsen maintains that the focus on techniques such as seismic and seabed mapping, for example, are areas where StatoilHydro is right at the forefront.
He has a clear challenge for Norway's educational institutions.
"StatoilHydro now faces a demanding international initiative in addition to those challenges we continue to work with on the NCS," he says.
"We will strengthen national educational and research communities within exploration and research. For this we need bright brains and educational establishments must take this challenge seriously."