Norwegian Sea Gift Keeps on Giving
In production since 1997, the Equinor-operated Norne oil field in the Norwegian Sea just got a major boost in its recoverable reserves estimate.
In conjunction with partners ENI and Petoro, Equinor has completed an appraisal well from the 2017 Cape Vulture discovery, the company reported Thursday. It stated that the well confirms a volume potential of 50 to 70 million recoverable barrels of oil – more than doubling the remaining oil reserves to be produced from Norne.
“We are very pleased to have proven and appraised a new substantial oil discovery off the coast of Nordland,” Nick Ashton, Equinor’s senior vice president for Exploration, Norway & UK, said in a written statement. “The appraisal well confirms a new play on the Nordland Ridge.”
Norne had initially been slated for shutdown in 2014, but its productive life has been extended to 2036 and will generate substantial spin-offs, Equinor stated. In addition, the company noted the further maturing of the field development has an upside potential for additional recoverable reserves from Cape Vulture.
“The discovery demonstrates the importance of our new exploration strategy,” said Ashton. “We intend to take new approaches and try out new and untested ideas to unlock the remaining commercial resources on the Norwegian continental shelf (NCS). This is in line with Equinor’s recently updated roadmap for the NCS, which aims to secure activity for many decades to come.”
In addition, Ashton said the Cape Vulture discovery – located seven kilometers northwest of the production vessel on Norne – opens up more opportunities in the area.
“As an immediate consequence we will already next year drill a well on a similar prospect on the Nordland Ridge,” noted Ashton. “We are also maturing other opportunities for the coming years that may help substantially increase the reserves around the Norne field.”
Equinor stated that appraisal of the Cape Vulture discovery has most likely concluded. The company added that the Norne license partners will progress the discovery toward a development decision.
“Cape Vulture came as a gift in early 2017, and it confirmed that exciting subsurface secrets still remain to be unlocked in the Norne area,” stated Siri Espedal Kindem, Equinor’s senior vice president for Operations North. “Our exploration people have been scrutinizing the area for more than 40 years, and they are still cracking codes.”
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