Barents Sea oil and gas search effort comes up empty

Sept. 29 (UPI) — For the second time this week, the Norwegian government said efforts to find new reserves close to existing production areas in the Barents Sea came up empty.

The Norwegian Petroleum Directorate, the nation’s energy regulator, published results Friday from a campaign about 20 miles northeast of the producing Johan Castberg field in the Barents Sea. The Norwegian subsidiary of Lundin Petroleum was drilling a wildcat well, one drilled into an area not previously known to hold reserves.

There were only traces of oil found and the well was “classified as dry,” the NPD said in its results statement.

Norwegian energy company Statoil had success with a wildcat well near Johan Castberg in July. Dubbed Kayak, the July discovery was estimated by the NPD to hold between 25 million and 50 million barrels of recoverable oil equivalents.

At least three new developments are planned for the Barents Sea, with the Johan Castberg highlighted as one of the more significant. Johan Castberg has estimated proven reserves of between 400 million and 600 million barrels of oil, and the NPD said a recent upward revision for the Barents Sea reserve estimate is roughly equivalent to 14 Johan Castberg fields.

A wildcat well drilled by the regional subsidiary of Italian energy company ENI near the proven Goliat field in the Barents Sea was classified as dry earlier this week. ENI previously estimated total reserves in Goliat at 179 million barrels and a peak rate of 100,000 barrels of oil per day is expected from field.

Norway is one of the leading energy suppliers to the European economy, designating nearly all of its offshore production for exports. The government reported preliminary figures for August at 1.55 million barrels of oil per day on average, slightly lower than it expected.

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