NPD Boasts Most Productive, Successful Year on Norwegian Shelf

Norwegian Continental Shelf
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In 2008, more exploration wells were drilled on the Norwegian continental shelf than ever before. 56 exploration wells were spudded, compared with 32 in the previous year. Almost every other well yielded a discovery, thus making 2008 a record-breaking year in the number of discoveries on the Norwegian shelf -- 25 in all.

The oil production curve continues to decline; however, 2008 oil production was almost four percent higher than the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate's forecast.

The status to date of the authorities' goal of five billion barrels of added oil reserves in the ten-year period from 2005 to 2015 is an increase of nearly 1.5 billion barrels in reserves. This indicates that achieving this goal could present a challenge.

2008 was a year marked by a global economic downturn that also led to a dramatic drop in oil prices. This situation has also created uncertainty as regards the cost level and planned investments in new projects on the Norwegian shelf.

Petroleum Production

A total of 242.2 million marketable standard cubic metres of oil equivalents (Sm3 o.e.) were produced in 2008. This is 21.8 million Sm3 o.e. less than in the record year 2004 and a small increase from 2007.

Resource accounts (preliminary figures as of December 31, 2008)

There is no significant change in the in the overall estimate for petroleum resources on the Norwegian shelf as of December 31, 2008. The estimate is 13 billion standard cubic metres of oil equivalents (Sm3 o.e.).

Exploration Activity

56 exploration wells were spudded on the Norwegian continental shelf in 2008. This is a record high, and an increase of 24 exploration wells compared with 2007. 25 new discoveries were made in 2008.

Of the 56 exploration wells, 42 were wildcat wells and 14 were appraisal wells. 49 exploration wells were completed.


The high price of oil in 2008 led to a considerable increase in both activity and cost levels on the Norwegian shelf. Investments, including investments in exploration activities, showed a continued growth in relation to previous years. The NPD's preliminary estimate is in excess of 130 billion NOK.


During 2008, the authorities approved plans for development and operation (PDOs) for Yttergryta and Morvin in the Norwegian Sea. In 2009, as many as ten new development plans may be submitted to the authorities for approval.

New Players

Eight new companies were pre-qualified as licensees or operators on the Norwegian shelf in 2008. An additional 15 companies are currently being evaluated.


During the last couple of years we have seen a growing level of conflict between seismic acquisition activities and the fishery industry. This is largely due to an increase in seismic data acquisition as a consequence of a generally higher level of petroleum activity.


Emissions and discharges from the petroleum activities largely follow production volumes. Increased emissions and discharges occur as a consequence of longer distances to the market, tail production and extended field lifetime.

Seismic acquisition in Nordland VII and Troms II

In 2008, the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate (NPD) acquired approximately 12 000 kilometers of 2D seismic data and 700 square kilometers of 3D seismic data in the Nordland VII and Troms II areas. The acquisition of seismic data started in the summer of 2007 and will be concluded in the summer of 2009. This activity is carried out on assignment from the Norwegian Government.

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