Another good year on the NCS, according to the NPD

Today, the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate (NPD) held its annual talk on the status of the Shelf at the Stavanger office.

The NPD reports of high activity on the shelf last year. There are considerable resources in fields and discoveries, and more to be discovered in all three sea areas. A record number of fields are producing now. The result talks for itself: The Government Pension Fund – Global reached a milestone with a market value of NOK ten thousand billion (112 600 billion dollars).

So, what happened in 2019, according to the NPD?

57 exploration wells, where 37 was drilled in the North Sea, 15 in the Norwegian Sea, and 5 in the Barents Sea.

Discoveries were not that impressive, 17 discoveries were made, their resources are not matured to commercialization, yet. The NPD points out that the last eight years, only 1/3 of the yearly production from the NCS is added to the proven resources portfolio.

Liatårnet, Echino Sør, Busta and Froskelår in the North Sea, Ørn in the Norwegian Sea, and Sputnik in the Barents Sea are likely the most significant discoveries, see figure. However, resource estimates are uncertain at this point.

83 licensees were awarded in the APA round of 2018 (the 2019 awards are just around the corner). 87 fields are now producing, a record high.

The 2019 production declined compared to 2018, due to lower gs production than expected. The NPD foresee that in 2024, the oil and gas production will reach the peak level of record production year of 2004, thanks to newcomer Johan Sverdrup which opened officially yesterday, and the development of Johan Castberg ending in 2022. Half of this production will be gas.

The closed fields are coming back to life: ConocoPhillips operated field Tor is under redevelopment (Tor II) and is coming back to life in 2020, this time as a subsea tie-in to giant Ekofisk field. The NPD also sees considerable opportunities in Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR).

CO2 emissions are down thanks to an emission credit price and CO2 tax work, and alternative power sources such as electric power from shore.

Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) saw the first exploration well being drilled for CO2 storage purposes, on the Aurora (dry) prospect south of the Troll field in EL 001.

The NPD expects a high and stable level of investment in the years to come. For 2020 they expect investment at NOK 150 billion, as for 2019. Overall 250 billion NOK was invested on the NCS last year (investments and costs). Thereafter some investment decline is expected.

48 % of resources are produced, according to the NPD. 18 % of the remaining 52 will be produced with today’s plans. 25 % are not yet discovered, the NPD says.

The Seabed mineral act is active from 2019 and will hopefully facilitate exploration for and likely(?) extraction of mineral deposits on the NCS and other shelves. The NPD has already proven sulfide and manganese crust deposits.