Optimism following major discovery
23/08/2011 Together, 16/2-8 ”Aldous” and 16/2-6 ”Avaldsnes”, could be the largest oil discovery made on the Norwegian shelf since the 1980s, and the world’s largest offshore discovery this year.
”We know that there is still a lot of undiscovered oil and gas in the North Sea, but the size of this discovery exceeds our expectations,” says a pleased assistant director general Johannes Kjøde.
On 8 August, Statoil reported that they had proven an oil column of at least 65 metres in well 16/2-8 (”Aldous Major South”) at the Utsira High in the North Sea. The discovery was made in a reservoir of very good quality.
The same oil/water contact as in the 16/2-6 (”Avaldsnes”) oil discovery has been confirmed, which indicates communication between the two oil discoveries. If further analyses and appraisal wells confirm the extent and connection between the discoveries, the total resources could amount to between 500 and 1200 million barrels (80 - 190 million Sm3) of recoverable oil.
If the most positive estimate proves accurate, this is among the ten largest discoveries ever made on the Norwegian shelf. The discovery confirms what the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate and the companies have known for some time; that oil has formed in the area around the Utsira High.
”The Utsira High is a rich area. The oil companies have been drilling there since the 1960s, but in shallower layers. New technology, new seismic data and new interpretations of old data have led to several interesting discoveries in recent years in addition to the two mentioned – for example, 16/1-8 ”Luno”, 16/1-9 ”Draupne” and 16/2-3 ”Ragnarrock”,” says Kjøde.
He adds that exploration of the Utsira High is far from complete. For instance, a well will be drilled in the Aldous Major North prospect. If this proves oil, it could lead to an even higher resource estimate.
”Statoil and Lundin (operators of 16/2-8 ”Aldous Major South” and 16/2-6 ”Avaldsnes”, respectively) need time to analyse their data, and more appraisal wells must be drilled before we can say more about how much oil is present,” Kjøde says, and adds that it is too early to say anything about how the discovery can be developed.
”But is it clear that the discovery will be a positive contribution to the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate’s long-term prognoses for the North Sea, and it will contribute to a continued high investment level on the Norwegian shelf. This is good news both for the companies and the industry that makes a living off the oil business.”
Furthermore, Kjøde says it is a myth that the oil age is nearing its end:
”The Norwegian Petroleum Directorate’s prognoses for petroleum production stretch beyond 2050 and we are facing many years with a high activity level. This is still an industry for the future. It is therefore important that young people are encouraged to choose education that qualifies them for jobs in the oil and gas industry – the most value-creating and exciting activity we can offer.”
Well 16/2-8 was drilled by the Transocean Leader drilling facility. It will now commence drilling of well 16/2-9 in production licence 265 (”Aldous Major North”) to clarify resources in the area.
In addition, the licensees are planning further delineation in the production licence next year to clarify the size of the discovery for a future development solution.
Contact in the NPD
Eldbjørg Vaage Melberg, tel.+ 47 51 87 61 00