A Statoil-led group of 17 oil and gas companies will oversee the joint acquisition of 3D seismic data from the southeastern Barents Sea, the firm reported Tuesday. The project will start its tender process for the seismic acquisition now with seismic surveys scheduled to start in April 2014.
Statoil said that the Norwegian Ministry of Petroleum and Energy requested the formation of the collaboration, which will jointly acquire 3D seismic data from the blocks in the southeastern Barents Sea that will be announced in the 23rd licensing round for the Norwegian Continental Shelf (NCS) in 2014. This region of the Barents Sea will be the first new area on the NCS to be opened up for hydrocarbon exploration since 1994, with 30 companies showing interest in participating in it.
On Monday, 17 of these companies signed an agreement to establish a joint project to plan and implement the seismic data acquisition in the region. Statoil, being the largest operator on the NCS, has taken role of leading the project.
"Coordinated seismic acquisition has several advantages. It will ensure very good data quality, since the industry – to a much greater extent – will be able to utilize the companies' collective professional expertise within geological understanding and seismic acquisition and processing," Gro G. Haatvedt, Statoil's senior vice president for exploration on the NCS, said in a company statement.
"Interest in the Barents Sea has increased considerably in recent years, due in part to the discoveries in the Johan Castberg area. High-quality 3D data will be important to the industry in order to increase understanding of the area's potential."
In Norway's previous licensing round – the 22nd round – the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate reported that the greatest interest from companies taking part was shown in the Barents Sea by the time the application deadline expired in December 2012. The 22nd round saw applications from 36 companies for 86 blocks and parts of blocks on the NCS, with 72 of these being in the Barents Sea.
So far, the companies that have agreed to work with Statoil on the 3D seismic data project include: BP, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, Det norske oljeselskap, Eni, GDF Suez, Idemitsu, Lukoil, Lundin, Norske Shell, PGNiG, Repsol, Spike, Suncor, VNG and Wintershall.
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