The resource accounts for the Norwegian continental shelf as of 31 December 2010

The Norwegian Petroleum Directorate's (NPD's) resource accounts, with updated figures as of 31 December 2010, is an overview of the recoverable petroleum resources on the Norwegian continental shelf. 

Table 1 of the resource accounts shows that, at the end of 2010, 5.5 billion standard cubic metres of oil equivalents (billion Sm3 o.e.) have been sold and delivered from the Norwegian shelf, and that the expected volumes of the remaining recoverable resources are estimated at 7.3 billion Sm3 o.e. The total recoverable petroleum resources are estimated at 12.8 billion Sm3 o.e. The main trends in the resource accounts include a small resource increase in fields, several projects are maturing and approaching a decision, and a decline in the NPD's estimates for undiscovered resources.

After oil and gas production started in 1971, petroleum has been produced from a total of 81 fields on the Norwegian continental shelf. Production has ceased on 12 fields. Of the fields that were in production at the end of 2010, 55 are in the North Sea, 13 in the Norwegian Sea and one in the Barents Sea.

In 2010, production started from four new fields: Morvin (the Norwegian Sea), and Gjøa, Vega and Vega Sør (the North Sea). Production started in February 2011 on the Trym field (the North Sea), and production is also expected to start on the Gaupe, Yme and Oselvar fields (the North Sea) and Skarv (the Norwegian Sea) over the course of the year.

In 2010, 16 new discoveries were made in 32 wildcat wells. Resource growth from exploration in 2010 is estimated at 78 million Sm3 of oil and 38 billion Sm3 of gas. Many of the discoveries have not been fully evaluated, and the estimates are therefore very uncertain.

Table 1 shows the resource accounts for 2010 divided among resource categories and the change in the total estimates compared with last year's resource accounts. The details of the resource accounts are shown in the enclosed downloadable tables.

The total petroleum resources have been reduced by 519 million Sm3 o.e. since 2009. This is mainly due to a reduction in the estimate for the undiscovered resources. In 2010, the NPD carried out an update of the undiscovered resources in the North Sea and the Norwegian Sea. The undiscovered resources in the Barents Sea were updated in 2009. The volume of the undiscovered resources on the Norwegian shelf is now estimated at 2570 million Sm3 o.e., a decline of 710 million Sm3 o.e. The range of uncertainty is considerable, between 1020 and 4800 million Sm3 o.e.

In particular, the undiscovered gas resources in the Norwegian Sea and the North Sea have been reduced the most. More than half of the reduction is explained by the discovery of 400 million Sm3 o.e. since the previous updates in 2006. A write-down was also carried out following disappointing exploration results in several important plays and following NPD´s new mapping off Lofoten, Vesterålen and Senja. The mapping results were published in May 2010.

The estimate for undiscovered resources represents the expected volumes of what could be discovered and recovered based on geological and technical assessments, and it is also based on an analysis of all the defined plays on the continental shelf, except from the areas around Jan Mayen and the previously disputed area in the Barents Sea.

The total remaining recoverable resources have been estimated at 7.3 billion Sm3 o.e., with a range of uncertainty (P10 - P90) between 4.8 and 10.6 billion Sm3 o.e

Figure 1 shows the distribution of the total resources. The resource estimates are uncertain; this is also illustrated in the figure.

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Download: Figure 1 (pdf)


In 2010, the reserve growth was 187 million Sm3 o.e. This is due to the fact that the authorities have approved the Plans for Development and Operation (PDOs) for Gaupe, Gudrun and Marulk, that PDOs have been submitted for 34/10-23 Valemon, 34/3-1 S Knarr and 34/8-14 S Visund Sør, and the fact that reserve have grown in fields such as Kvitebjørn, Balder, Grane and Gullfaks. However, 230 million Sm3 o.e. were sold and delivered, reducing the reserves by 46 million Sm3 o.e. in 2010.

In 2005 the NPD set a goal of 800 million Sm3 additional oil reserves by 2015. Last year oil reserves have grown by 64 million Sm3. Of this, 30 million Sm3 come from discoveries and 34 million Sm3 come  from fields. Six years into the period, the accumulated reserve growth is 360 million Sm3. This amounts to 45 per cent of the authorities' goal for reserve growth, and shows that we are still behind the linear trend of achieving the goal of 800 million Sm3 by 2015. However, if the right decisions are made quickly, the goal can be achieved.

972 million Sm3 o.e. of contingent resources have been reported in fields, and planned projects for both improved oil and gas recovery are included in this figure. This entails an increase of 72 million Sm3 o.e. compared with the last reporting and is due partial to maturing of projects towards a decision, that fields report expected production over a longer time period and addition of new projects. The increase is largest on the Troll, Snorre, Valhall, Gullfaks Sør and Ekofisk fields, all in the North Sea. 

The volume of contingent resources in discoveries has been reduced by 68 million Sm3 o.e. to 648 million Sm3  o.e. The growth of gas from new discoveries is less than in 2009, while the oil growth is larger than last year. Even though the growth of resources from new discoveries has been positive, new evaluations have led to reduced resource estimates in some older discoveries, for example, appraisal drilling has led to reducing 6603/12-1 Gro by 25 billion Sm3 gas to 13 billion Sm3. In 6506/6-1 Victoria, the expected volume is 27 billion Sm3 of gas. This is a decline of 10 billion Sm3 from last year. In addition, the PDOs for three discoveries have been approved and the licensees have submitted PDOs for three discoveries to the authorities, which has resulted in classifying these resources as reserves.

The downloadable spreadsheets also show estimates for the original gas resources in place, i.e. how much oil and gas were in place in the reservoirs before production started. There are alternative ways to estimate resources in place. The estimates stated for the various fields are therefore not necessarily comparable.

Contact in the NPD
Tom Andersen, tel.+ 47 51 87 62 75