Norway wants tech-savvy companies offshore

A national energy regulator said enhanced recovery techniques could unlock billion of barrels of more reserves.
By Daniel J. Graeber  |  Aug. 25, 2017 at 6:36 AM
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Aug. 25 (UPI) -- An energy regulator in Norway, one of the world's top producers, said it was keen on utilizing new knowledge to tap into the million of barrels left offshore.

"Vast volumes of oil and gas have been discovered on the Norwegian shelf that are still waiting to be produced," Ingrid Sølvberg, the director of development and operations in the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate, said in a statement.

The Norwegian Petroleum Directorate said preliminary figures show total average daily production of oil, natural gas liquids and condensate, an ultra-light form of oil, was 2 million barrels, an increase of 93,000 barrels per day from the previous month.

Total discovered and potential resources are up more than 40 percent since 1990. With 50 years behind it, the department estimated Norway is not yet at the halfway point as a producer.

To tap the remaining resources, the NPD said it wanted companies with the ability and willingness to deploy new technology to wade into Norwegian waters. The department estimates as much as 5.3 billion barrels of oil equivalent could be produced through enhanced recovery methods, which is as much as the total that just one field produced since 1979.

Norwegian energy company DNV GL is leading a joint research project that includes the Norwegian Research Council, the regional subsidiary of Italian energy company ENI and U.S. supermajor Exxon Mobil as its partners. The partnership is testing whether or not wind power could be used to help push water into offshore fields to increase reservoir pressure and stimulate production.

Statoil, co-owned by the Norwegian government, this year reviewed the potential for enhanced recovery at one of Libya's largest oil fields. Enhanced oil recovery involves techniques ranging from gas and chemical injections to thermal processes to stimulate production.

Through advanced methods for enhanced oil recovery, the NPD estimates as much as 5.4 billion barrels of oil alone could be recovered.

"The authorities expect that all resources that contribute to values for society will be produced, not just the easy barrels," Sølvberg said. "This requires us to maintain strong expert communities and develop and apply new technology."

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