The petroleum resource account as of Dec. 31, 1998


The Norwegian Petroleum Directorate's (NPD) resource account gives an overview of the recoverable petroleum resources. Recoverable petroleum resources comprise both the original marketable and the remaining petroleum resources on the Norwegian continental shelf. The resource estimates are based on reports submitted annually by the operating companies, NPD evaluations for fields and discoveries and NPD estimates of undiscovered resources. Resources on the Norwegian continental shelf are classified in a system according to profitability and maturity, see the resource classification table.

Resources in Fields
As of 31 December 1998, 39 fields were in production on the Norwegian continental shelf, and development plans have been approved for eight fields. In addition, nine fields have ceased production. The original recoverable reserves (classes 0-2) comprise 3730 million Sm3 of oil and NGL and 1750 billion Sm3 of gas. Of this, about half of the oil, condensate and NGL, and one third of the gas have been produced for sale. Oil resources from planned projects (classes 3-6) are expected to correspond to a little less than two years of oil production.

The main change in oil reserves (classes 0-2) last year can be ascribed to the three new fields approved for development: Gullveig, Tordis Øst and Varg. Oil resources in planning phases (classes 3 and 4) have thus been added to the reserves (classes 0-2). The potential of possible future measures for increased recovery constitutes approximately 500 million Sm3 of oil and 500 billion Sm3 of gas. This is a reduction of approximately 100 million Sm3 o.e. from the previous year. A smaller part of the new oil resources came from re-evaluation of existing fields and discoveries which now are reported under fields.

For gas, the changes in reserves and in resources in planning phases are similar to those for oil.

Resources in Discoveries
There are a total of 132 discoveries which have not yet been approved for development (see the tables on the last two pages), eight of which were made in 1998. In addition, there are 40 discoveries for which resources are reported under other fields or discoveries.

The new discoveries in 1998 added 45 to 75 million Sm3 of oil (including condensate and NGL), and 45 to 85 billion Sm3 of gas to the resources. The added resources balance about one third of the oil produced and add the double to the produced gas resources. A major part of the new discoveries are under evaluation and there is considerable uncertainty in the estimates. We estimate that the total recoverable resources in discoveries amount to 550 to 580 million Sm3 of oil, condensate and NGL and 1160 to 1200 billion Sm3 of gas. The discoveries may constitute as much as 30 per cent of the produced oil. Gas from discoveries may add another 70 per cent to the current gas reserves, making up more than ten years of gas sales at 80 billion Sm3 of gas per year.

Undiscovered Resources
The undiscovered resources have an expected value of 1400 million Sm3 of oil and 2300 billion Sm3 of gas with an uncertainty range of as much as two to six billion Sm3 o.e. These figures are based upon a new assessment made in 1998. The Barents Sea has been re-evaluated and the other areas have been updated. The total undiscovered resources have been increased by six per cent since last year, the resources in the North Sea have been reduced by 15 per cent, whereas the resources in the Norwegian Sea have been increased by 20 per cent as a consequence of the new gas discoveries in the Vøring Basin (the "Ormen Lange" discovery) as well as increased resources in the Barents Sea by 20 per cent.

The petroleum resource data that forms the basis of this Newsletter and the graphs, are available for downloading. If you use them, please state the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate as the source.