March 26 (UPI) -- A Norwegian regulator confirmed two separate oil and gas discoveries on Monday, the largest of which could contain at least 35 million barrels of oil.
Apart from Russia, Norway is the largest oil and natural gas producer for the European market, designating nearly all of its offshore output for exports.
The Norwegian Petroleum Directorate confirmed Monday that a regional subsidiary of Lundin Petroleum finished an appraisal operation at a discovery located about 12 miles south of the Edvard Grieg field, which is already in production in the North Sea.
Before drilling, Lundin estimated the reserve potential of the find at between 29 million and 73 million barrels of oil and as much as 100 billion cubic feet of natural gas. After drilling, the NPD raised that estimate by as much as 20 percent for oil, while keeping the estimate for natural gas in place.
"The licensees will evaluate the discovery as regards a potential development through linking the discovery to existing infrastructure on the Edvard Grieg field," the NPD stated.
Lundin, primarily a Norwegian oil and gas company, reported earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, a proxy for net income, for the fourth quarter of $429.8 billion, a year-on-year improvement of 55 percent. Full-year EBIDTA of $1.5 billion nearly doubled from 2016.
Its total proved plus probable -- known in the industry as 2P reserves -- were 726 million barrels of oil equivalent as of Dec. 31. Total 2P reserves as of Dec. 31 reflected an increase of 45.8 million boe, or about 7 percent.
Separately, the NPD confirmed a discovery in the northern reaches of the Norwegian Sea for the regional subsidiary of German energy company Wintershall. The company was drilling in a frontier prospect, referred to as a wildcat well.
The NPD put the preliminary size of the discovery at between 7 and 22 million barrels of condensate, an ultra-light petroleum product, and between 245 billion and 670 billion cubic feet of natural gas.
"The licensees will evaluate the discovery together with other discoveries and prospects in the area with regard to a potential further development," the NPD stated.