Norway licenses spur Barents Sea exploration

Norway’s government has awarded 24 production licenses under the country’s 21st licensing round, split evenly between the Norwegian Sea and the Barents Sea.

Offshore staff

OSLO -- Norway’s government has awarded 24 production licenses under the country’s 21st licensing round, split evenly between the Norwegian Sea and the Barents Sea.

Twenty-nine companies gained participating interests, with 13 offered operatorships.

Minister of Petroleum and Energy Ola Borten Moe said the 12 licenses awarded for the Barents Sea were the highest for a Norwegian round. “The present level of activity in the Barents Sea is high and increasing,” he added, alluding to Eni’s current development of the Goliat-field, Statoil’s recent Skrugard/Sverdrup oil discovery, and several wildcat wells planned for 2011 and 2012.

Sissel Eriksen, Exploration director of the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate (NPD), noted that the awards include areas located further north than before. ”In this licensing round, we are moving further north/northwest than in existing production licenses.”

The government has now decided to open up the eastern part of the southern Barents Sea, and new acreage is being made available for awards via the area’s integrated management plan.

The Petroleum and Energy Ministry has, however, tightened criteria for drilling deepwater, high-temperature and high-pressure wells on 21st round licenses. For instance, there must be at least one competent partner in addition to the operator, and that partner must have drilled at least one well as an operator on the Norwegian continental shelf, or bring relevant experience from another offshore petroleum province.

Operatorships were awarded to the following companies:

BG Norge (1)

Chevron Norge (1)

ConocoPhillips Scandinavia (1)

Dana Petroleum Norway (1)

Dong E&P Norge (1)

ExxonMobil Exploration & Production Norway (1)

GDF SUEZ E&P Norge (3)

Lundin Norway (1)

OMV (Norge) (1)

Suncor Energy Norge (2)

Statoil Petroleum (8)

VNG Norge (1)

Wintershall Norge (2).

Participating interests, including operatorships, were as follows:

Bayerngas Norge (1)

BG Norge (1)

Centrica Resources (Norge) (2)

Chevron Norge (1)

Concedo Norge (1)

ConocoPhillips Scandinavia (5)

Dana Petroleum Norway (2)

Det norske oljeselskap (1)

Dong E&P Norge (1)

E.ON Ruhrgas Norge (1)

Edison International Norway Branch (2)

Eni Norge (2)

ExxonMobil Exploration & Production Norway (3)

Faroe Petroleum Norge (1)

GDF SUEZ E&P Norge (3)

Idemitsu Petroleum Norge (4)

Lundin Norway (1)

Maersk Oil Norway (1)

Norwegian Energy Company (2)

North Energy (1)

OMV (Norge) (2)

PGNiG Norway (2)

Rocksource (4)

RWE Dea Norge (2)

Spring Energy Norway (2)

Suncor Energy Norge (3)

Statoil Petroleum (11)

VNG Norge (1)

Wintershall Norge (2).

Among the companies commenting on their awards, Statoil said it had gained four operatorships, in the Barents Sea and four in the Norwegian Sea. The Barents Sea included operatorship of licenses (PL) 614 and 615 in the Hoop area, 200 km (124 mi) northeast of the Skrugard discovery, PL 608, and a stake in PL 605, both close to Skrugard/Sverdrup.

Statoil picked up deepwater acreage in the Norwegian Sea, with PLs 602, 603, and 604 close to its Luva area.
Faroe Petroleum gained an interest its second license in the Barents Sea, which it says is the largest of the round, covering around 2,100 sq km (811 sq mi), and taking in blocks 7223/3 and 6, and 7224/1, 2, 3, 4 and 5.

The main prospect in the license, Kvalross, comprises a wedge of clinoforms contained within a large structural closure. The license area is east of Skrugard, and immediately adjacent to Faroe Petroleum’s Samson Dome license, where an extensive 3D survey has been acquired and processed.
Wintershall is the operator. The work program involves acquiring 3D seismic data, with a decision to drill to be taken within three years.

Norwegian Energy Co. (Noreco) won 40% of license PL606 operated by OMV in the Barents Sea, and 20% of PL599, in a part of the Norwegian Sea where the company already has a strong acreage position. Here BG Norge is the operator.

Lundin Norway was designated operator of PL609, in partnership with RWE Dea Norge and Idemitsu Petroleum Norge. This permit covers an area of 1,180 sq km (455 sq mi), and again is east of Statoil’s Skrugard discovery. Lundin Norway already operates four licenses in the Barents Sea, and will drill the Skalle prospect (well 7120/3-2) during the next few weeks.

Maersk Oil gained 30% of PL597 on the Halten Terrace, operated by VNG Norge. The partners are committed to seismic data reprocessing, leading to a decision whether to drill an exploration well.

Rocksource won interests in four licenses, all containing high-potential, low-risk prospects that have been de-risked using controlled source electromagnetic (CSEM) data, and processed in the proprietary software system Rocksource Discover, prior to application. Rocksource’s awards are: PL 602, blocks 6706/10 (part), 6706/11, 6706/12 (part). Operator is Statoil.

The license is on the Vema Dome in the Vøring basin in the Norwegian Sea, immediately west of the Luva, Haklang, and Snefrid discoveries. Prospects have potential targets at multiple reservoir levels.

PL 528 B, block 6707/10 (part) where the operator is Suncor Energy, is also in the Vøring basin, directly northeast of the same three discoveries. It is an extension to PL 528, which includes ownership of the full extent of the Ivory prospect, awarded under Norway’s 20th Round.

PL 601, blocks 6609/3 and 6610/1, where the operator is Wintershall. This license is in the eastern part of the Træna basin in the Norwegian Sea. Several leads and prospects have been mapped and de-risked using 3D seismic data and CSEM.

PL 610, blocks 7722/2 and 7722/3 is at the eastern margin of the Loppa High, in the Barents Sea, immediately north of the Obesum discovery. Prospectivity has been mapped and de-risked using 2D seismic data and CSEM.


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