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Areas of the Barents Sea which have been opened for petroleum operations are frequently designated Barents Sea South, delineated by latitude 74˚30’N. Figure 3 shows the boundaries of the NCS and the area status of Norwegian oil and gas activities.
The Barents Sea contained 71 production licences at May 2017. Licence awards began in 1980, and the first well was drilled in the same year. A total of 157 wells have so far been drilled in Norway’s Barents Sea sector, including 126 for exploration. Forty-nine discoveries were made in these waters from 1980 to 2016. The first of these, 7120/8-1 Askeladd (today part of the Snøhvit field), was found in 1981. See figure 4.
Drilled in 2014, the northernmost well on the NCS so far – 7325/1-1 (Atlantis) – resulted in a small gas discovery. This well lies about 305 kilometres north of Nordkapp, roughly 360 kilometres north of Hammerfest and 173 kilometres south-east of Bjørnøya (Bear Island).
Snøhvit and Goliat are currently on stream in the Barents Sea. Remaining recoverable reserves and resources in these two fields are estimated at 218 and 38 million scm oe respectively. In addition, the Johan Castberg (Skrugard/Havis) (100 million scm oe recoverable), Alta/Gohta (57 million scm oe recoverable), and Wisting (56 million scm oe recoverable) discoveries are being evaluated for development.