Oil firms have just lately targeted on frontier exploration drilling within the Barents Sea offshore in Norway, neglecting the powerhouse of the Norwegian oil business, the North Sea.

Exploration exercise within the North Sea—probably the most mature space of Western Europe’s largest oil producer—is at an 11-year low this yr, which is a priority for the business’s regulator, the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate (NPD).

“That worries me,” NPD Director General Bente Nyland informed Bloomberg in a current interview, voicing the business concern that with out new oil discoveries, particularly in mature areas with well-connected infrastructure, the decline in Norway’s oil manufacturing can be even greater than anticipated.


Following a continuous decline between 2001 and 2013, Norway’s crude oil manufacturing roselast yr for the third yr working, however based on the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate (NPD), oil manufacturing this yr can be almost half the quantity from the height in 2000-2001.

Two big fields found in 2010 and 2011, Johan Sverdrup within the North Sea, and Johan Castberg within the Barents Sea, are anticipated to start out operations in 2019 and 2022, respectively, and can raise Norway’s oil manufacturing within the early 2020s in comparison with anticipated declines in 2018 and 2019.

But after 2025, manufacturing and exercise are anticipated to considerably drop off until there are new discoveries, based on oil main Statoil.

Norway’s Ministry of Petroleum and Energy, and NPD say:

“Production from new fields that come on stream will compensate for the decline in manufacturing from ageing fields. However, in the long term, the extent of manufacturing will rely on new discoveries being made, the event of discoveries, and the implementation of improved restoration tasks on current fields.”

Encouraged by just lately opened areas and probably big yet-to-be-discovered sources, oil firms launched a document exploration drilling marketing campaign in Norway’s Barents Sea this yr. But the drilling marketing campaign was a flop, and even probably the most promising wildcat yielded no oil.

Companies are vowing to return subsequent yr for extra exploration within the frontier areas, however they’ve been neglecting the North Sea—probably the most mature space the place Norway’s petroleum historical past started, and which made the nation one of many world’s richest.

The North Sea continues to be the powerhouse of Norway’s oil with 62 fields in manufacturing as of the tip of 2016, in comparison with 16 fields in manufacturing within the Norwegian Sea and two fields—Snøhvit and Goliat­—within the Barents Sea.

This yr oil firms drilled a document variety of wells within the Barents Sea, which is believed to carry 49 p.c of Norway’s undiscovered sources, whereas the North Sea has 24 p.c of undiscovered oil and fuel, and the Norwegian Sea 27 p.c.

The North Sea’s big fields have pumped oil and fuel for many years and at the moment are maturing. Therefore, Norway wants so as to add extra sources within the North Sea earlier than a few of the current infrastructure, together with platforms, is folded and decommissioned, based on NPD’s Nyland.

In an outline of the Norwegian Continental Shelf for 2016, Nyland pointed to “quite a lot of uncertainty related to exploration exercise going ahead.”

“It is essential to take care of exploration exercise at a excessive stage with a purpose to keep steady manufacturing sooner or later,” she stated.

The Barents Sea was a big a part of exploration exercise this yr, however outcomes had been underwhelming.

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“Exploration drilling within the Barents Sea in 2017 and 2018 will assist make clear future alternatives within the Barents Sea and the Norwegian continental shelf,” Statoil says, however its chief government Eldar Saetre additionally factors out that the business must heed what NPD’s Nyland has been saying about neglecting the North Sea.

“If we proceed to see a development the place we’re not making greater discoveries, we must search extra in mature areas,” Saetre informed Bloomberg in an interview. “This is a crucial…

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