April 10 (UPI) -- The Norwegian government approved the development of a field that could hold as much as 100 million barrels of oil equivalent, a development partner said.
Faroe Petroleum, which focuses on Norwegian and British exploration and production, said the Norwegian Energy Ministry has approved development and operational plans for the Fenja field in the Norwegian Sea. The operator, VNG Norge, estimates the field holds 97 million barrels of oil equivalent in gross recoverable resources, with most of that existing as oil.
VNG Norge submitted development plans last year. The partners are planning to invest $1.3 billion on a field discovered just three years ago.
Statistics Norway, the government's record-keeping agency, expects total investments in oil and gas extraction and pipeline transport will be 11 percent higher than the government's estimate for 2018 from the fourth quarter.
Already by December, seven plans for development of operation were submitted for approval and more are expected this year. Among the largest would be the plans for the second phase of the Johan Sverdrup oil field, which could represent a quarter of total Norwegian production once fully operational.
Apart from Russia, Norway is the top oil and natural gas supplier for the European economy, designating nearly all of its offshore production to the export market. Total production for February, the last full month for which data are available, was down 2.2 percent from January and 2.5 percent lower than the same month last year.
Production from the Fenja field is planned for 2021 and the field could have a lifespan of 16 years.
Last week, Norwegian energy company DNO paid $114 million to take a 27.7 percent stake in Faroe, aiming to build a stronger regional position.
"Faroe now has the distinct advantage of being in a fully-funded position, with clear line of sight to deliver material organic production and value growth," Chief Executive Graham Stewart said in announcing Fenja's approval.