An exploration well is either a wildcat well or an appraisal well. There are several factors that make it difficult to predict the exact number of exploration drilling operations during the course of a year. If discoveries are made, they will often lead to appraisal wells that were not initially planned, and even firm plans can change during the course of a year depending on new information, access to drilling rigs, delays, etc.
Three wells have been completed so far this year, including two discoveries (link), while two exploration wells are currently being drilled. The NPD has also received five new drilling programs with start-up planned for May - June.
Of the six production licenses awarded in the 17th licensing round, so far only one or two drilling operations are planned for this year.
Exploration drilling is important
Enormous gains can be realized through good resource management. Two potential future paths for Norwegian petroleum production were introduced in Storting White Paper No. 38 - On the oil and gas activities; the decline path and the long-term development path. Up to the year 2050 the difference in value creation between these two scenarios is more than 2 000 billion kroner at current oil prices.
The authorities and the industry agree that the goal is the long-term development path. However, the way forward is difficult and challenging, and many exploration wells will have to be drilled to prove new resources.
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