Statoil Targets 60% Average Oil Recovery Rate

Statoil Targets 60% Average Oil Recovery Rate

Statoil announced Wednesday that it plans to increase the average oil recovery rate from its fields on the Norwegian Continental Shelf (NCS) to 60 percent.

This would be a significant improvement on the 50 percent average recovery rate that Statoil is currently at, and which the firm claims no other oil company around the world has been able to match. In the global industry, the average rate of recovery of oil in place is approximately 35 percent.

"We're very proud to be a world leader with an average recovery rate of 50 percent for the oil fields we operate – but we want even more," Øystein Michelsen, Statoil's executive vice president for Development and Production Norway, said in a statement Wednesday.

Statoil's declaration that it is aiming for a 60-percent target came a day after it won the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate's IOR prize for improved oil recovery. Statoil's technical team won the award for their work on gas injection technology at the Oseberg field.

Gas injection was one of a number of measures that resulted in substantially increased oil volumes at Oseberg, and the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate (NPD) estimates that gas injection yielded more than 400 million barrels of additional oil from the field than would have been the case with water injection.

Gas has now been injected on a total of 28 fields on the NCS and because of this Norway has been able to generate more oil than the expected oil resources at the Johan Sverdrup field that was discovered in 2011.

"Oseberg paved the way for many other fields, also by importing gas from another field. The very successful use of gas injection resulted in major ripple effects for other fields," said NPD Director General Bente Nyland in a statement, who also conceded that a prize for the use of gas injection technology should have been awarded sooner.

Statoil has not set a date for it to achieve its 60-percent target for average recovery rate, but it noted Wednesday that half of its $480 million (NOK 2.8 billion) research budget is earmarked for projects designed to improve recovery.

The company pointed out that when it submitted plans for development and operation for its existing fields, the average expected oil recovery was just 30 percent. So, the 50-percent rate of recovery achieved today means it has produced 7.5 billion barrels of additional oil – the equivalent of two Statfjord fields.


A former engineer, Jon is an award-winning editor who has covered the technology, engineering and energy sectors since the mid-1990s. Email Jon at


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