Maintaining an overview of petroleum resources across the whole Norwegian continental shelf (NCS) is one of the duties of the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate (NPD). The NPD therefore works to map possible petroleum resources in both opened and unopened areas of the NCS in order to secure a good factual basis for future decisions. This work is entrenched in the letter of allocation to the NPD – the section dealing with working for long-term resource availability – and the directorate’s strategic plan for 2016-20 on mapping and promoting the resources.

Attention in recent years has concentrated primarily on acquiring data from Barents Sea North and Barents Sea North-East, along the boundary with the Russian sector. Activities in the summer of 2015 included shallow drilling east and north of Kvitøya. Results from this work will be important for understanding the geology and resource potential in Barents Sea North, including the area along the boundary with Russia.

Based on new and existing data, the NPD has mapped the area in eastern parts of Barents Sea North and estimated its resource potential. A number of analyses of the shallow drilling results remain to be completed, and work is continuing to achieve an even better understanding of the geology in Barents Sea North. Although seismic surveys have been acquired during several seasons, the seismic data base still remains limited.

Given current knowledge, the main conclusions are that the area has a substantial upside in terms of resources and value. The evaluation shows interesting structures and possible petroleum accumulations of considerable size, which mean that the NPD wants to continue mapping the area and increasing its knowledge.

Future petroleum activity in Barents Sea North will naturally be pursued in accordance with the Petroleum Act and within the parameters specified by the management plan for the Barents Sea.

It is important to emphasise that no exploration wells have been drilled in Barents Sea North. Such drilling will be needed to prove possible petroleum resources.

This document is not a scientific report, but a presentation of the geological assessments which form the basis for the resource evaluation. The main features of the geology and the NPD’s resource estimates, which reflect the level of uncertainty, are described.


Sissel Eriksen, Director of exploration

Sissel Eriksen
Director of exploration