In Barents Sea, a string of new oil discoveries

New discoveries are making the Barents Sea increasingly appealing for the oil industry

The petroleum industry rejoices over the discovery of two new major oil fields in the Barents Sea. A series of field centers are now in the making in Norwegian Arctic waters.

In less than a week, two oil companies have announced their discoveries of new Barents Sea fields, thus boosting expectations for the Norwegian Arctic waters. The OMV first informed the public about its finding of an estimated 60-160 million barrels of oil, and 10-40 billion cubic meters of gas, at the Wisting Central well. The Lundin company two days later followed up, announcing that it had found a 75 metre oil column at the Gohta prospect.

Commenting on the findings, Norwegian Minister of Energy Ola Borten Moe says that the discoveries “confirm what we have seen the last years, that the Barents Sea is a very exciting petroleum province with many and diverse opportunities”.

According to leader of the Petro Arctic association, the two new fields could be the start of “a golden line of new discoveries”. “First Wisting and now this – it is almost too good to be true”, Arvid Jensen says to newspaper Nordlys.

The Wisting Central is located in the socalled Hoop High, an area in which the oil industry for a number of years have shown interest. Several oil companies, among them Statoil, Conoco Phillips, OMV,  Petoro, GdF Suex and Wintershall have owner interests in surrounding licenses. The Wisting Central discovery was made at water depths of 373 meter in a 905 meter deep well, the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate informs.

The field is northernmost ever discovery made Norwegian waters. It is located about 310 km north of the town of Hammerfest and 170 km northeast of Johan Castberg, the major oil field found in 2011.

The Gohta finding of the Lundin company is located 35 km east of the Snøhvit field. The two licenses are controlled by consortiums of OMV(25%), Idemitsu Petroleum (20%), Tullow Oil (20%), Statoil (15%) and Petoro (20%), and Lundin (40%), Det Norske (40%) and the Norwegian Energy Company ASA (20%) respectively.

With the new discoveries, four field centers are gradually in the making in Norwegian Barents. In addition to the Hoop High, the oil industry is focusing on activities at the Snøhvit, Goliat and Johan Castberg areas. More new field centers are expected to emerge as the industry starts drilling in the highly perspective southeastern part of the Norwegian Barents Sea as part of the 22nd and 23rd License Rounds.