More confident outlook

The biggest change in the Norwegian petroleum industry since 2011 is a higher level of optimism than has been evident on the NCS for a long time, according to the NPD’s latest resource report.

This overview of petroleum resources on the NCS is published by the directorate every other year.

“After the government adjusted its exploration policy about 10 years ago, which included opening up for new companies on the NCS, the number of participants has almost doubled,” says Sissel Eriksen, the NPD’s exploration director.

“This has contributed to a high and stable level of exploration activity, and many new discoveries have been made.”

The report presents analyses which show that medium-sized companies are strengthening their position on the NCS. They appear to be taking over the place held by the international integrated oil companies on the NCS since activities began there almost 50 years ago.

The big recent discoveries have not reduced estimates for undiscovered resources – quite the contrary, according to Eriksen.

“This is primarily because new knowledge encourages greater confidence in opportunities for further discoveries. A lot of oil and gas remains to be found in all three parts of the NCS – the North, Norwegian and Barents Seas.”

An expansion occurred to the NCS two years ago, when Norway and Russia signed the final treaty on maritime delimitation in the Barents Sea. The NPD has recently mapped the Barents Sea South- East area, which could be opened to the industry as early as 2013 if the Storting (parliament) gives its consent.

In addition, the NPD is mapping Norway’s continental shelf around Jan Mayen, with the work due to be completed in 2014. In addition to providing knowledge of potential petroleum resources, this mapping could contribute to increased knowledge of the geology in the deepwater areas west of the Norwegian Sea.