Positive resource accounts for the Norwegian shelf in 2011

The Norwegian Petroleum Directorate’s resource accounts for 2011 show a solid increase in proven resources and a net increase in reserves.

The Norwegian Petroleum Directorate's (NPD's) resource accounts, with figures updated as of 31 December 2011, show that the total recoverable petroleum resources are estimated at 13.1 billion standard cubic metres of oil equivalents (Sm3 o.e.).

The main trends in the resource accounts for 2011 are:

  • Solid increase in proven resources
  • Net increase in reserves (replacement rate of 117 per cent)
  • Maturing of resources in fields and discoveries
  • Adjustment of the undiscovered resources with the year's discoveries

The total recoverable petroleum resources have increased by 292 million Sm3 o.e. since 2010. This is mainly due to increased resource estimates for the 16/2-6 Johan Sverdrup discovery.

The reserve growth has been 260 million Sm3 o.e. This is due to resources in discoveries receiving approval for development from either the authorities or the licensees, and that there has been an increase in reserves for fields in operation. The Ekofisk, Snorre and Heidrun fields have had major increases in oil reserves. Troll has had the largest increase in gas reserves. 222 million Sm3 o.e. were sold and delivered in 2011 (including historical production of gas from Tambar, which was not included the previous year), resulting in an increase in net reserves of 38 million Sm3 o.e. 

The Trym field came online in 2011, and a new field on the UK side, Islay, with a Norwegian percentage of 5.5, is expected to come online in the first quarter of 2012. On 1 January 2011, 14 fields were under development.

In 2005, the NPD set a goal for the total oil reserves to increase by 800 million Sm3 by 2015. During the past year, the oil reserves have had a gross growth of 93 million Sm3. In comparison, 97 million Sm3 of oil were sold in 2011.. Of the volumes added in 2011, 22 million Sm3 are from discoveries and 71 million Sm3 are from fields. Six years after the formulation of the NPD's goal, the accumulated reserve growth is 452 million Sm3. This amounts to 57 per cent of the authorities' goal and shows that we are still behind the linear trend to achieve the goal of 800 million Sm3 by 2015. But if the right decisions are made quickly, the goal can be achieved.

Planned projects for increased oil and gas recovery are called contingent resources in fields and amount to 762 million Sm3 o.e. in the accounts for 2011. Possible future measures for improved recovery are included in this figure. This is down 210 million Sm3 o.e. compared with the last reporting, mainly due to the fact that projects on the fields have been approved and the petroleum volumes have therefore been re-categorised as reserves.

The volume of contingent resources in discoveries has increased by 357 million Sm3 o.e. compared with the accounts for 2010. The NPD's updated resource estimate for 16/2-6 Johan Sverdrup, proven in 2010, has resulted in a substantial increase in contingent resources. The resource estimate was updated following the drilling of several appraisal wells in 2011. The estimate is 280 million Sm3 of oil, with a low estimate (P90) of 140 and a high estimate (P90) of 400 million Sm3. In addition, the added resources from new discoveries in 2011 contribute a total of 115 million Sm3 o.e. to the increase.

The total estimate for undiscovered resources is 2 455 million Sm3 o.e. The accounts for 2011 have lowered the estimate to correspond with the volume proven in new discoveries in 2011. Over the course of 2012, the NPD will prepare a new evaluation of undiscovered resources.

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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Figure 1: Distribution of the total recoverable resources and uncertainty in the estimates as of 31 December 2011.


The details of the resource accounts are shown in the enclosed downloadable tables.

Contact in the NPD:
Marit Arnesen, tel. +47 51 87 64 33