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Graphic shows Barents Sea oil and gas finds.


Norway’s Arctic oil boom

By Mike Tyler

May 5, 2017 - Norwegian authorities expect oil and gas companies to drill a record 15 exploration wells in the Barents Sea this year.

A new forecast by the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate predicts there could be more than 17 billion barrels of oil and gas yet to find here, or almost 65 percent of Norway’s undiscovered resources.

Link to Norwegian Petroleum Directorate report

Statoil ASA’s Songa Enabler, a mobile drilling machine the size of two football fields, is spearheading the drilling efforts as it embarks on a five-well exploration campaign.

“With a break-even price of $35 a barrel, we’re competitive and then some,” said Tim Dodson, head of research a state-controlled Statoil, referring to Statoil’s Castberg project. “That makes a lot of the stranded-assets debate disappear.”

Statoil’s Barents Sea wells are among the cheapest in its global exploration portfolio this year, at $25 million apiece at most, Dodson said. Lundin Petroleum is also planning to drill two new wildcat wells and several appraisal wells in the Alta/Gohta area.

The Barents enjoys some advantages over the U.S. Arctic, where President Donald Trump is pushing to expand drilling. The Gulf Stream keeps Barents mostly ice-free, unlike the sea around Alaska and Greenland, which have been deserted by oil companies since 2014.

PUBLISHED: 05/05/2017; STORY: Graphic News; PICTURES: Other