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New reserves uncovered in North Sea

Find comes amid potential slowdown in regional oil and gas production.

By Daniel J. Graeber
New reserves uncovered in North Sea
Norwegian regulator confirms reserves uncovered in a part of the North Sea not previously known to contain hydrocarbons. File photo by Maryam Rahmanian/UPI | License Photo

OSLO, Norway, July 13 (UPI) -- The Norwegian government confirmed Wednesday an oil and gas discovery was made in a North Sea area not previously known to contain hydrocarbons.

The Norwegian Petroleum Directorate confirmed a discovery was made in a wildcat well about eight miles south of the Brage field in the North Sea. A wildcat well is one drilled into an area not previously known to contain oil and gas and the NPD said a well drilled by Faroe Petroleum may hold between 42 million and 80 million barrels of oil equivalent.

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According to Faroe, the Brage field is producing around 20,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day.

The NPD said oil production in April, the last full month for which data are available, averaged 1.63 million barrels per day, about 3 percent higher than the agency had expected and about 4 percent higher than last year.

Monthly analysis from researchers at the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries finds the outlook for the North Sea may be improving, though short-term declines are expected through 2017.

OPEC said total European oil supply should decline by about 40,000 barrels per day in 2017, a revision that's higher than the previous estimate by about 10,000 bpd.

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Strike action that would have impacted production offshore Norway has been averted after a deal was reached on pay rates last week.

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