New Shallow Drilling Activities in the Barents Sea North

The Norwegian Petroleum Directorate (NPD) will this autumn be conducting several shallow stratigraphic drilling activities in the Barents Sea north to gain more knowledge of the resource potential of the area.

In connection with its debate on the revised 2005 national budget before the summer holidays, the Storting (Norwegian parliament) resolved to allocate approx. NOK 20 million for a mapping of the resources in the Barents Sea. This is part of the Cabinet's plans to secure Norway's long-term interests in the Northern areas. The Cabinet also wants to strengthen the scientific knowledge of the Northern areas. The NPD is now to drill up to five new shallow stratigraphic wells in the northern part of the Barents Sea, east of Svalbard.

The expedition will take place in September.

"We basically want to drill as far north as possible, in an area which we don't as yet have much information on. How far north we get, depends on the ice conditions," explains Director Bente Nyland of the NPD.

The holes will be drilled to a maximum depth of 200 meters. Rock samples will be collected, and the drilling holes will be logged. The activity will be carried out by Fugro Geotechnics using the drilling vessel "MV Bucentaur".

OD is responsible for the collection of data from areas that have not been opened to petroleum activities. The northern part of the Barents Sea is such an area.

Right since the 1970s the NPD has been collecting seismic data and conducted shallow stratigraphic drilling activities. The purpose of the shallow stratigraphic drilling is to complement the seismic mapping with geological information in the form of core samples of solid rocks under the loose deposits on the seabed.

In the period 1990-1998 the NPD conducted several stratigraphic shallow drilling activities in the Barents Sea. During these years a total of 2179 meters was drilled, and 2112 meters of core samples were collected from a total of 23 bore holes.

The results from both this and previous years' shallow drilling activities will be made available to industry and research institutions later.

The NPD's resource accounts with estimates of the petroleum resources on the Norwegian continental shelf encompass all areas on the Norwegian continental shelf. This means that areas not currently open for petroleum activity, are also included in the resource accounts. The area of overlapping claims in the Barents Sea and the continental shelf around Jan Mayen are not included, however. Around 60 percent of the Norwegian continental shelf has been opened up for exploration activity, and large areas have not yet been explored.

The total undiscovered resources in the Barents Sea have an expected value of 990 million standard cubic meters of oil equivalents (Sm3 o.e.), divided between 400 million Sm3 o.e. of liquid and 590 million Sm3 o.e. of gas. The uncertainty in the estimate ranges from 460 to 1700 million Sm3 o.e.

The total recoverable resources on the Norwegian continental shelf have now been estimated to between 10.6 and 16.3 billion Sm3 o.e., with 12.9 billion Sm3 o.e. as the expected value (Figure 2.2). Of this, 4.0 billion Sm3 o.e. have already been produced. It is estimated that 3.4 billion Sm3 o.e. remain to be found, with an uncertainty span of between 2.1 and 4.9 billion Sm3 o.e.

Company: Norwegian Petroleum Directorate more info
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