Searching for 1 $ barrelsDenis Palermo. Photo: Ronny Setså

Searching for 1 $ barrels

– With the latest soon-to-be-closed purchase of Exxon’s assets, we are quickly becoming one of the largest operator on the Norwegian Continental Shelf (NCS), said Denis Palermo, VP Exploration at Vår Energi at the NCS Exploration Strategy 2019 conference in Stavanger in November.

Vår has a current production of about 300 000 barrels of oil equivalents per day (boepd, including the Exxon assets) which will grow to more than 350 000 boepd by 2023.

With currently 131 licences (28 operated) on the NCS, Vår has plenty of room to see further production and reserve growth in the years to come.

– In the short term, our exploration efforts are focused on areas near operating fields. The target is to recover cheap barrels with a short time to market in order to maximize the value of our infrastructure.

According to Palermo, Vår’s building blocks for successful exploration is G&G people, a good portfolio, utilizing existing technology and implementing digitalization.

With regards to the latter, Vår has access to the second fastest industrial supercomputer in the world through a partnership with Eni. The main goal of digitalization is a re-organization and integration of their database in which all subsurface data and tools will be stored and accessed in one place, i.e. a seamless subsurface data platform.

– We envision a fully digital exploration management system that includes all resources, investments and licences where all the tools are integrated and interlinked.

The new system will be operating by 2020/2021.

– We also believe there is a lot of value to be added through utilizing existing technology, especially seismic reprocessing which is cheap and effective, as well as using all kinds of seismic acqusition technologies such as broadband, 4D seismic and ocean bottom technologies, said Palermo.

Injectites in focus
In the recently acquired Balder hub area, Vår is seeing great potential with 17 prospects.

– We are especially optimistic about the King prospect which is a post Paleocene injectite sandstones target. We consider it a low risk, high target with a more than 50 % probability of success.

The Balder Field has already seen 20 years of production from injectites, a type of sandstone with high reservoar and hydrocarbon quality and good connectivity. The challenge is mapping the structures as they have complex 3D geometries and large parts below seismic resolution.

– Estimating volumes of injectites is an ongoing challenge.

Gas ambition

– According to analyses made by IEA, OPEC and oil companies, oil and gas are here to stay in the decades to come, covering 55 – 60 % of future energy demand. In the EU, natural gas will be the largest primary energy source before 2030, according to DNV.

Based on these projections, as well as NPD’s estimates (only 1/3 of the gas on the NCS has been produced and sold), Vår Energi has set an ambition to be a part of a future in gas exploration and development.

– There are great opportunities for gas discoveries and production in the Barents Sea, the Norwegian Sea and the North Sea. The critical part is the current lack of infrastructure and capacity constraints. More gas discoveries in the future will be needed in order to facilitate more investments in the related infrastructure.