Calling for a debate on exploration areas
Mr Lund's presentation at the traditional Sandefjord conference ended with a request to Norwegian politicians to assess the oil industry's access to areas not yet matured on the NCS.
"It is our responsibility to point out the opportunities available on the NCS," said Mr Lund. "We have made no secret of the fact that we believe the best opportunities are in Nordland 6 and 7 and Troms II – and we still believe that."
Chief executive Helge Lund (Archive photo: Harald Pettersen)
In 2009 StatoilHydro will drill five or six strategically important wells with big potential on the NCS.
"After that, we will have completed the drilling of our portfolio of wells in non-matured areas," Mr Lund continued.
"For a major player like StatoilHydro it is crucial that we have a balanced portfolio of opportunities."
"I understand that high polarisation makes the discussion of acreage politically complex territory but it would be an enormous historical act of negligence if the industry did not point out the possibilities it sees on the NCS. It is up to the government and the Storting (parliament) to decide whether they will act on these possibilities."
Since last year's conference, the economic situation has changed totally. The oil price which fluctuated at around USD 100 per barrel has fallen to about USD 40.
StatoilHydro assesses the outlook as very uncertain but has faith in higher oil prices in the longer term.
Mr Lund maintained that the financial crisis is intensifying the main challenges on the NCS which is characterised by a strong decline in production, high discovery rate – but small volumes – and a dramatic cost hike in recent years.
"This situation requires a big effort by the industry and the government. Our ambition is to maintain our production at about 1.5 million barrels of oil equivalent per day for 10 years. We want to use the situation to strengthen the organisation and our competitiveness further and we will collaborate with our suppliers to push costs down – that is in everbody's interest," Mr Lund concluded.