Women Who Shine: Q&A with Margareth Ovrum

Rigzone: Like the Gulf of Mexico, the North Sea is considered a mature area but discoveries are still being made. Do you think this is just the beginning for what’s to come in the North Sea? And how will the Arctic play a role in the coming years?

Ovrum: The Norwegian Continental Shelf is the backbone of our company. We do not see a sunset future even in the most mature part of the NCS, the North Sea, towards 2020.

 We can attest to this through our new discoveries. The discoveries in the Utsira area (Edvard Grieg, Ivar Aasen and Johan Sverdrup) and the ongoing development of Gudrun and Gina Krog, have definitely revitalized the North Sea. 

Due to this positive development we believe that the present production from the North Sea of 880,000 barrels per day will be maintained at a similar level in 2020. And we feel that the Johan Sverdrup field will aid in this goal. The field is the sum of 40 years of development and activities on the Norwegian shelf, and has a production horizon extending beyond 2050!

Another area worth noting is tie-ins. In addition to our portfolio of large projects, we have a number of smaller projects ongoing, typically subsea tie-in projects. The fast-track initiative was launched in 2010 with the objective to expedite project execution and reduce investment cost through simplification and standardization. 

At present, Statoil has 12 fast-track projects ongoing. Each project may be small; however, in total they contribute significantly to our portfolio of new production, more than 100,000 barrels per day towards 2014.

IOR also plays a key role in our business. We have passed a major milestone in IOR: we stand to recover more than half of the oil in our NCS reservoirs. The average in the world is 35 percent. Our ambition is to increase the average oil recovery of our NCS operated fields from the present level of 50 percent to 60 percent.

In order to avoid any misunderstanding, I would like to be clear on three basic issues connected to this ambition:

  • First, the ambition is value driven not volume driven. We will not engage in IOR projects that do not add value and our IOR projects are highly profitable. 
  • Second, this is a long-term goal. We expect gradual increases via incremental steps. 
  • Third, the major part of this ambition will be realized after 2020 and 60 percent recovery will require continued technology development.

As for the Arctic, we are a key player in this region and will remain so. We are well positioned for long-term growth in the Arctic. We have a strong technology base and unique experience from operating in harsh conditions on the NCS. Statoil has more experience in the Barents Sea than any other company. This means that we are strongly positioned to move further north into the Arctic. What makes the Arctic different from more temperate marine environments is the presence of ice, extremely low temperatures, long periods of darkness and the remoteness of the region. There is a large resource potential in the Arctic, but most of the resources will only play a role in the long-term energy supply picture. 


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