New deposit of oil and natural gas uncovered in Norwegian waters of the North Sea by a company that says there's still life left in the region. UPI/Maryam Rahmanian | License Photo
STAVANGER, Norway, Sept. 16 (UPI) -- Finding more oil and natural gas in mature areas of the North Sea confirm the staying power of operations in Norwegian waters, an explorer said.
The exploration and production subsidiary of French energy company ENGIE said it made a discovery near the existing Gjoa field in the Norwegian waters of the North Sea.
"The discovery is situated in our core area in the North Sea, and confirms our view that even mature areas of the Norwegian Continental Shelf have an interesting exploration potential," the company's Managing Director Cedric Osterrieth said in a statement.
The Norwegian government confirmed the discovery in the wildcat Cara well, a well drilled into an area not previously known to contain oil or natural gas. The Norwegian Petroleum Directorate said the company ran through of column of natural gas that was about 165 feet thick and an oil column that was about 200 feet thick.
All told, the Norwegian authority said it estimated the new discovery holds up to 69 million barrels of oil equivalent reserves.
ENGIE said this was the first well drilled into the area. It offered no details on future development plans.
The discovery comes as the Norwegian economy adjusts to a new market era characterized by the potential for field maturation in the North Sea and oil prices that are about half what they were two years ago.
The Norwegian government's statistics office said the drop in oil prices since 2014 led to declines in overall employment and the general government surplus of $20 billion over the last four quarters was down by more than $7.2 billion from the preceding four-quarter period.
Norway is among the leading oil and natural gas exporters to the European economy.