Hydro Hopes to Begin Drilling in the Barents Sea this Fall



Hydro is currently working with other operators with a view to carrying out exploration drilling in the Barents Sea: "We hope that our efforts will benefit Northern Norway and the Barents Sea, also with a view to the development of collaboration to the east, towards Russia," says senior vice president Bengt Lie Hansen in Hydro.

Hydro takes a positive view of the reopening of the Barents Sea for oil and gas exploration, and hopes that exploration drilling in the Hydro-operated Obelix prospect in seismic area C will be able to start in the autumn of 2004.

"We hope of course that we will make a discovery, although the risk of dry wells in the area is high," says Bengt Lie Hansen.

Hoping for further development of the Barents Sea
According to the Petroleum Directorate's latest resource accounts, two thirds of the remaining undiscovered resources on the Norwegian continental shelf could be located in the Barents Sea.

"We are interested in exploring for oil and gas in the Barents Sea even though there is a relatively low probability of discoveries. After all, more than 60 exploration wells have been drilled in the Lofoten and Barents Sea areas since 1980, and only one discovery has proved to be viable for production. However, it should be pointed out that the Barents Sea is many times larger than the North Sea, and this area of sea has been subject to relatively little exploration, so it may contain significant resources," says Lie Hansen.

"We are interested in exploring for oil and gas in the Barents Sea even though there is a relatively low probability of discoveries. After all, more than 60 exploration wells have been drilled in the Lofoten and Barents Sea areas since 1980, and only one discovery has proved to be viable for production. However, it should be pointed out that the Barents Sea is many times larger than the North Sea, and this area of sea has been subject to relatively little exploration, so it may contain significant resources," says Lie Hansen.

Transfer of expertise
The Norwegian petroleum industry is possibly one of the cleanest in the world, and is responsible for only two percent of the total oil discharge in the North Sea. Over 1000 exploration wells have been drilled on the Norwegian continental shelf since the 1960s with no environmentally harmful discharges.

"The Norwegian continental shelf has some of the most stringent safety and environmental requirements in the world for exploration and production of oil and gas, and Hydro has unique expertise in safe and environmentally friendly operations under challenging conditions," says Lie Hansen.

For example, Hydro is operator for the development stage of the gas discovery Ormen Lange off the coast of More. This giant project with a budget frame equivalent to 10 of the new Oslo airport at Gardemoen will bring gas to an onshore processing plant at Aukra in Western Norway. Gas production is planned to start in 2007 from overtrawlable seabed installations and pipelines as deep as 1000 meters, with seabed temperatures below zero and strong currents.

"We hope that this type of experience will benefit Northern Norway, also in connection with developing collaboration towards Russia. Hydro has for some time regarded Russia as an interesting area. We recently celebrated the 15-year anniversary of our offices in Moscow. We produce oil from the Russian Kharyaga field, and we have also played an active role in the concept development of the Shtokman field on the Russian side of the Barents Sea," says Lie Hansen.
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