STAVANGER, Norway -- Maersk Oil plans to accelerate its E&P program offshore Norway, five years after gaining its first Norwegian license. The company expects to drill its first well as an operator during the first half of next year on the T-Rex structure in the Norwegian Sea Haltenbanken in license PL 431, using the semi-sub Transocean Winner.
Maersk Oil Norway Managing Director Morten Jeppesen, speaking at ONS, described this as a relatively rich discovery area, close to the producing Smorrbukk field-
Maersk has interests in nine licenses in the Norwegian Sea and the Norwegian North Sea, three as operator, with one of its operated permits including part of the potential Flyndre oil development.
"We have been building up our Norwegian acreage via licensing rounds and farm-ins," he said, "but we also want to establish some production in the short term."
The company has focussed on building its organization at the headquarters in Stavanger. The current team includes 40 geoscience specialists, and the next priority is to recruit more geoscientists and engineers to support the new programs. If necessary, Maersk can also bring in its expertise from its extensive E&P centers off Denmark, the UK and Qatar.
Jeppesen says some of the company's Norwegian exploration plays share similarities with its main theaters of operation elsewhere in the North Sea.
"We could bring value by tackling development of certain reservoirs that might be unattractive to others by transferring technologies we have developed in tight chalk and high pressure, high temperature regions. Long horizontal wells and water injection, for instance, could be applied in different settings."
"We're trying to build a balanced portfolio," says Jeppesen, "in areas where we can bring our knowledge to bear. Mid Norway and the North Sea will remain our focus for the time being."
He declined to say whether Maersk Oil would bid in the latest Norwegian licencing round.
Off Denmark and Qatar, the company operates very large development projects. "I wouldn't say, yes, we will spend $6 billion in Norway," he says, "but we would consider participating in large-scale investments."