STAVANGER, Norway, March 3 (UPI) -- The Norwegian government said Monday its total recoverable petroleum resources have increased because of new discoveries in the Barents Sea.
The Norwegian Petroleum Directorate, the nation's energy regulator, said Monday recoverable petroleum resources have increased by roughly 2 billion cubic feet of oil equivalent since 2012.
"This is mainly due to an increase in the volume of undiscovered resources, which now include the southeastern Barents Sea and the shelf around [the arctic volcanic island] Jan Mayen," NPD said in a report. "Together, they account for 60 percent of the increase."
Last week, Norwegian energy company Statoil said French company Total and Exxon Mobil, which has headquarters in the United States, were among the 16 companies that joined a group looking to "secure good data quality" from new areas opening up to explorers in the southeastern Barents Sea.
NPD said the rate at which reserve estimates were growing, however, was slower than expected because international energy companies have made few investment decisions on new discoveries on the Norwegian Continental Shelf.
"Reserve growth from producing fields is the main contributor to the increase in reserves," NPD said.
Norway is a European leader in terms of oil and natural gas reserves.