Analytical Instrumentation

  • How Much Oil is in the Barents Sea?

How Much Oil is in the Barents Sea?

Apr 02 2020 Read 341 Times

According to a major Scandinavian petroleum authority, there's still plenty more oil to be found in the Barents Sea, a section of the Arctic Ocean set off the northern coasts of Norway and Russia. While new discoveries have lapsed over the past few years, the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate asserts that the Barents Sea contains more than 3 billion standard cubic meters of oil equivalents.

The announcement comes after national oil company Equinor announced plans to halt exploration in the southeast corner of the Barents Sea in 2019, a decision that was spurred by disappointing results at several wells. "The wells that we have operated have shown disappointing results and Equinor will from now on focus its activity in more western areas," says Dan Tuppen, a company representative for Equinor.

Currently there are just two active fields in the Barents Sea, the Snohvit natural gas field operated by Equinor and the Goliat field operated by independent exploration and production company, Var Energi. Equinor is also developing the Johan Castberg field, which is scheduled to start production in 2022.

Unlocking 3000 billion standard cubic meters of oil equivalents

While production has been disappointing so far, particularly for Equinor, the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate is confident the Barents Sea has enormous potential. In a new resource accounts report released by the Directorate, experts predict the Barents Sea could harbour more than 3000 billion standard cubic meters of oil equivalents, with just 87 million cubic meters already extracted. It suggests most of the value is in the southern, north-eastern and south-eastern portions of the sea, some of the main areas that have been cast off by Equinor. Other areas of interest include waters bordering the Norwegian and Russian border.

Leveraging a national resource

Despite concerns over climate change and non-renewable energy phase outs, Norway plans to champion petroleum production as a major source of national income for the foreseeable future. Leader of the Petroleum Directorate Ingrid Solvberg says there are big opportunities for oil drillers, including major prospects in the Barents Sea. Outshone only by the North Sea, the Barents Sea is considered one of the most lucrative oil and gas resources in Norway.

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