Norway reviews shelf oil, gas potential

Feb. 28, 2013 at 6:46 AM
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OSLO, Norway, Feb. 28 (UPI) -- The Norwegian government said oil and natural gas potential in a section of the Barents Sea could equate to 1.9 billion barrels of oil equivalent.

The Norwegian Petroleum Directorate announced it revised upward its estimate of the undiscovered oil and natural gas potential in the Jan Mayan area of Barents Sea.

The 17,000-square-mile area may hold as much as 1.9 billion barrels of oil equivalent. The bulk of that may exist as natural gas, with 15 percent crude oil, the NPD said.

The NPD said the geological knowledge of the region is limited because no exploration wells have been drilling in the area. The government could open the area to explorers this summer.

"Seismic data acquired in 2011 and 2012, as well as other geological data from the Barents Sea, provide a good basis for estimating the undiscovered petroleum resources in the southeastern Barents Sea," the NPD said.

The estimate from the region raises the expected volume from the Norwegian continental shelf by 15 percent, the directorate said.

Norwegian Energy Minister Ola Borten Moe has said there are plenty of reserves on the country's continental shelf. Norway is the largest oil producer in Europe and the second-largest exporter of natural gas after Russia.

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