The Norwegian government on Friday issued its assessment of a natural gas discovery made by Austrian company OMV in the North Sea. File photo by Stephen Shaver/UPI | License Photo
Nov. 4 (UPI) -- Norway, a key natural gas exporter to the European Union, on Friday said a new natural gas discovery in the North Sea could hold at least 9 million barrels on an oil-equivalent basis.
The Norwegian Petroleum Directorate, the nation's energy regulator, assessed a recent natural gas discovery made by Austrian energy company OMV in the Norwegian waters of the North Sea.
While drilling encountered poor-quality reserves, the government estimated the discovery holds between 9 million and 40 million barrels of natural gas on an equivalent oil basis, or between 1.5 million and 6.5 million standard cubic meters.
"The licensees will assess the discovery with a view toward further follow-up," the NPD said.
OMV had no comment on the discovery, which is located near existing infrastructure. It could nonetheless help solidify Norway's position as a major natural gas supplier to the European Union.
Norway exports nearly all of its fossil fuels as it powers its own economy on renewable resources. That helps establish it as a world leader in exports of natural gas alongside the likes of Qatar, Russia and the United States.
Its geographic position makes it particularly important for a European Union looking to break Russia's grip on the regional energy sector, a move that became even more important after the Russian invasion of Ukraine in late February.
Russia is suspected of using its vast natural resources as a political tool. At least some of the increase in prices for grains, crude oil and natural gas are because of sanctions imposed on Russia and general supply-side concerns.
Norway has taken much of the European market share now, supplying about a quarter of the bloc's needs. U.S. data show liquefied natural gas sourced from inland shale basins is a close second to Norway, while gas piped from Russia has effectively ground to a halt.