June 19 (UPI) -- The Norwegian government said Monday efforts to find new reserves near a North Sea field with at least 25 million barrels of oil remaining came up empty.
The Norwegian Petroleum Directorate, a national energy sector regulator, released its assessment from a so-called wildcat well, one drilled into an area not previously known to hold reserves, from Aker-BP.
The well was targeting an area about 4 miles away from the Volund field, which the government estimates has 26.4 million barrels of oil remaining.
"The reservoir rocks have only faint traces of oil," the NPD said in its findings statement. "The well is classified as dry."
The Norwegian government granted a permit to Aker BP to drill an exploration well in the Volund oil field in the North Sea in March. Volund is in service through a floating production platform.
Norway is one of the main oil and gas suppliers to the European economy. The NPD last week said total discovered and potential resources are up more than 40 percent since 1990. Most of the new discoveries made offshore Norway have been in the North Sea, but the largest are in the Barents Sea.
Aker BP is a mid-sized exploration and production company with a strong portfolio on the Norwegian continental shelf. Operating costs there are low by relative standards at about $11 per barrel.
The company reported first quarter production of 145.3 million barrels of oil equivalent, an increase of 14.8 percent from the previous quarter. Most of the company's output came from the Alvheim license area in the North Sea.