Norwegian waters leads offshore field discoveries in 2016
DISCOVERING NEW RESERVES
North West Europe continues to succeed in achieving new reserves. Despite the maturing UKCS (UK Continental Shelf), the vast increase in exploration blocks has meant that seven offshore discoveries had already been made and recorded in Clarksons Research paper, published at the start of June. While the figure is down by 33% compared to this time last year, North West Europe is already outdoing every other region, aside from the Asia-Pacific region who have had a rise in new reserves in 2016 too.
Within these statistics, Norway has played a pivotal role in making the region’s activity levels look so high. Discoveries in Askja South East, Robbins, Madam Felle, and B-West fields has helped Norway’s efforts look successful, despite only Zennor Pathway registering the Finlaggan field back in April.
FLURRY OF DISCOVERIES
The good news for Norway hasn’t stopped there either. In June alone, industry press has featured three success stories for the country and its waters. Statoil, the operator responsible for three of the major offshore field discoveries earlier in the year, announced alongside the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate that a minor gas/condensate discovery near the Krafla area of Norwegian waters had been found.
Faroe Petroleum in mid-June were the next operator to strike new reserves – this time in the Brasse structure in the Norwegian North Sea. With a 14.3% stake in the Brage oil field, Faroe CEO Graham Stewart spoke about the 18m of gross gas-bearing and 21m of gross oil-bearing reservoir they’d discovered. “If the Brasse drilling results prove a commercial discovery, it could be tied-back to the Brage production facilities or alternatively to other nearby installations.”
Finally, Det norske oljeselskap were the latest operator to find reserves, this time an estimated 2.1MMcmoe of recoverable reserves were found in the central Norwegian North Sea. Together with the jack-up Maersk Interceptor, Det norkse found the discovery in the Ivar Aasen area and is anticipated to come online in December this year.
CONDITIONS ARE STILL TOUGH
While these news stories may paint a brighter future, it is still worth remembering that the Norwegian and UK regions are still facing one of their most challenging times. Utilisation rates have dropped across floater rigs in particular, but the resultant decline of day rates has meant that there are “small pockets of opportunity” that exist currently, according to Clarksons Research.
And with oil prices globally remaining stable following the decision by the UK to exit the European Union, the offshore industry should welcome the fact that despite the uncertainty, the sector is seemingly making gradual improvements and activity with Norway and North West Europe leading the way.
Photo credit: Offshore Energy Today
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