Dec. 15 (UPI) -- Norwegian explorer Aker BP said it tabled offshore field development plans representing 345 million barrels of oil equivalent and $1.8 billion in investments.
The company submitted formal development plans to Norwegian regulators for the Ærfugl, formerly called Snadd, Skogul and Valhall fields in national waters. The fields combine for 345 million barrels of oil equivalent and investments of approximately $1.8 billion.
The Ærfugl complex is the largest of the three in terms of total reserve potential, with estimates of around 275 million barrels of oil equivalent. A two-phase development plan calls for three production wells starting in 2020, with two more geared toward maturing the prospect in late 2023.
Aker BP, on behalf of its partners at Statoil, DEA Norge and the Norwegian subsidiary of Polish gas company Polish Petroleum and Gas Mining, said the Ærfugl complex is a "highly attractive and robust development," with combined investments of $1.02 billion.
"Leading up to the plans for development and operation, the licensees have done a good job optimizing value creation," Kalmar Ildstad, the assistant director for Norwegian Sea development at the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate, said in a statement. "Costs have been reduced and the reserve basis has increased."
Through a partnership with a regional subsidiary of U.S. explorer Hess Corp., which it said it would acquire, Aker BP said the Valhall field is a "giant oil field" in the southern Norwegian waters of the North Sea. Six production wells are planned for a field with 60 million barrels of oil equivalent and a startup date in fourth quarter 2019. The total investment is estimated at $664 million.
With its Polish partner, Aker BP said that, by first quarter 2020, it would be tapping into the Skogul field where reserves are estimated at 10 million barrels of oil equivalent and investments total $181 million.
Norway holds the largest crude oil and natural gas reserves in Europe and exports nearly all of what it produces offshore. Total production in October, the last full month for which the government published data, was 1.9 million barrels of oil, natural gas liquids and condensate per day, an increase of 141,000 bpd from September.
Aker BP's submission of three development plans on the same day followed a report from the government that the sector was picking up after a sharp downturn in investments in 2016.
"Coupled with an improved global outlook and lower investment prices, this augurs well for increased petroleum investment," the government's report read.