June 8 (UPI) -- A Norwegian government regulator said Friday it confirmed an oil discovery was made in untested waters in the central part of the North Sea.
The Norwegian Petroleum Directorate, the nation's energy regulator, confirmed a discovery was made by Equinor in a wildcat well, one drilled in an area not previously known to contain oil or natural gas.
The objective of the well was to determine the available of commercial oil volumes. By NPD estimates, the discovery holds between 15 million and 35 million barrels of recoverable oil.
"The licenses consider the main segment to be commercial," a statement from the NPD read. "Other segments will be evaluated, and further delineation of the oil discovery is relevant."
If Norway were a member of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, it would be the seventh-largest producer behind Nigeria.
Total production of oil, natural gas liquids and condensate, an ultra-light product, averaged 1.87 million barrels per day last month, a decline of 34,000 bpd from March. For oil, production averaged 1.5 million barrels per day, 4 percent lower than expected and 3 percent below the forecast for the year.
The main reason for declines in April, the last full month for which data are available, was because of field maintenance.
Oil revenues account for about 14 percent of the Norwegian gross national product. Tax revenues from petroleum activity in the country jumped last year, when compared with 2016, because of higher crude oil prices.
Equinor is the developer of the project, alongside license partners Lundin Petroleum and Spirit Energy.
"This discovery has good quality and adds new volumes in an important area of the North Sea. We also see a substantial upside in the license that we now aim to clarify as soon as possible together with our partners," Nicholas Ashton, Equinor's senior vice president for regional exploration, said in a statement.