Looking for deep oil

Looking for deep oil

Statistical data demonstrate that the UK has been more successful than Norway in finding deep oil. The reason for this will be discussed in November.

A comparison of the Norwegian & UK producing fields and discoveries may reflect different development histories and investment environments in each country.

– Indeed, there are differing levels of maturity in each sector, but there are also many similarities. This is to be expected given that the Median Line merely divides two halves of the same geologic basin, says Mike Cooper, technical director of 1st Subsurface.

1st Subsurfacenow offer insights to questions like “Where is all the heavy oil in the UK”, “Where are the deep (predominantly HP/HT) oil & gasfields in Norway?”. and “Why are light condensate accumulations apparently confined to Norway?”.

– Post-tax, Norwegian exploration costs investing companies significantly less than in the UK, but the converse is true for producing assets. Evidence is presented which suggests that a combination of punitive fiscal terms, coupled with a limited turnover in late life operatorship, may contribute to deriving lower ultimate recoveries, Cooper says.

– Numerous unsanctioned discoveries are stranded in both sectors and the future challenges to sanction such projects will be with a backdrop of diminishing access to producing hubs, pipelines and terminals. Government policies may need to be tweaked to maximise economic recovery. An example from the ongoing initiative in the UK Outer Moray Firth will highlight a collaborative and innovative way forward.

At the NCS EXploration Strategy in November Mike Cooper, will give a presentation illustrating differences between UKCS and NCS.

Mike Cooper will for example address why more deep oil has been discovered in the UK than offshore Norway. Does it have to do with geology, or is it related to different exploration strategies?

NCS Exploration Strategy 2018

November 14-15, 2018


  • comment-avatar
    Prof.Dr. D. A. Karlsen 4 months ago

    One aspect of relevance to this complex issue is – in my eyes – that geologists for a very long time assumed that deep oil would crack to gas – and effectively so at temperatures exceeding 150-160 C – and in fact are still BM tools in cases assuming this to occur.
    This limited oil stability is one of the“hard-to-die” notions which has been around for too long, and our work on petroleum inclusions has never suggested such thermal lability of oil – i.e. we never observed evidences for oil-to gas cracking.
    It is likely that this assumption about oil-lability – if you ask me – fist challenged by the late L. Price – has hampered deep oil exploration, and possibly more so in Norway than in UK – as did the assumptions about “no porosity” at depth – i.e. “the commercial basement token” – and such ideas tend to linger on – much longer than one would like to admit. In fact – how often did we not observe “geologist to fight like rats in a bag” over these notion – quite sad actually. Quite often – personal positions came in the way for philosophical search for truth.
    However, it is also possibly the case that deep exploration in the e.g. the Jade/Judy-region i.e. inverted basins of the Central Graben have been blessed by other factors than the above mentioned, as some evidence suggests that oil stability at depths there could be related to late generation from “older than” Mesozoic source rocks – which have a “tail” of production to very high temperatures, and that the oils themselves – for chemical reasons are very stable.
    Still, the good part of the story is that there is a he…. of a lot more oil to be found , both shallow and at depth.

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