Resources per sea area

The North Sea holds about 42 per cent of the remaining resources. The distribution of the rest of the resources shows that there is 20 per cent left in the Norwegian Sea and 38 per cent in the Barents Sea. Large parts of the expected remaining resources in the Barents Sea have yet to be proven.
The North Sea holds about 42 per cent of the remaining resources. The distribution of the rest of the resources shows that there is 20 per cent left in the Norwegian Sea and 38 per cent in the Barents Sea. Large parts of the expected remaining resources in the Barents Sea have yet to be proven.
Remaining Resources Undiscovered Resources North Sea Norwegian Sea Barents Sea

Remaining Resources

The three ocean areas the North Sea, Norwegian Sea and Barents Sea are different both with regard to geology, resource base, maturity and scope of infrastructure, distance and knowledge.

There has been petroleum activity in the North Sea since 1965. The Norwegian Sea and the Barents Sea (areas north of the 62nd parallel) were opened for petroleum activities in 1980. The remaining resources and distribution between discovered and undiscovered resources in opened and unopened areas, respectively, therefore differ between the three ocean areas.

Remaining petroleum resources by sea area as per 31 Dec. 2021

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Distribution of remaining liquids resources (green) and gas resources (red) by sea area and resource class (Source: Norwegian Petroleum Directorate)

Distribution of remaining liquid and gas resources per sea area and resource class
Source: The Norwegian Petroleum Directorate

In the North Sea, the majority of oil and gas is reserves, which means that they have approved plans for production. In the Barents Sea, the majority of oil and gas resources have the status of undiscovered resources. Vast areas in the Barents Sea have not been opened for petroleum activity as yet, and this is where we find the greatest expected value for undiscovered resources.

Undiscovered Resources

Undiscovered resources are volumes of petroleum that we assume could be recovered from deposits that have yet to be proven through drilling. The estimates for undiscovered resources in open areas are updated with an assessment of recent years' exploration results, new mapping and new documentation every two years, most recently in autumn 2021. In interim years, the estimates are adjusted in relation to the last year's drilling activity. The estimates for the ocean areas off Lofoten, Vesterålen and Senja, as well as the Barents Sea North and the ocean area around Jan Mayen have not been updated and therefore remain unchanged since the previous resource accounts.

Undiscovered petroleum resources in the sea areas

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Distribution of undiscovered liquids (green) and gas (red) in the various sea areas, with range of uncertainty (Source: Norwegian Petroleum Directorate)

Undiscovered resources by area as of 31 December 2021
Source: The Norwegian Petroleum Directorate

North Sea

The North Sea is the powerhouse of the Norwegian petroleum activities, with 71 producing fields at year-end. Three new fields came on stream in 2021: Martin Linge, Solveig and Duva. Production also started from the redeveloped Yme field. Thirteen new discoveries were made in the North Sea in 2021. The largest discovery in the North Sea was proven in 2011, 30/11-8 S (Krafla).

The resource accounts for the North Sea show that 176 million Sm3 of oil equivalents (o.e.) were sold and delivered from this part of the Norwegian shelf over the past year. Gross reserves increased by 62 million Sm3 of o.e., before deducting production.  The remaining reserves in the North Sea were reduced by 114 million Sm3 of o.e. in 2021. At year-end, the reserves amount to 1909 million Sm3 of o.e.

The estimate for undiscovered resources in the North Sea is 640 million Sm3 of recoverable o.e. This is distributed between 410 MSm3 of oil and condensate and 230 GSm3 of gas. This is a reduction of four per cent from the previous year for both liquids and gas resources. This reduction is lower than the resource volumes proven through exploration since the last estimate. In real terms, this means that the projection for remaining prospectivity is more positive than in the previous estimate.

Even if one cannot rule out that larger discoveries could be made in the North Sea, we expect that the majority of discoveries will be relatively small. The average discovery size in the North Sea over the last five years is 3.6 MSm3 of recoverable o.e.

 

Total recoverable petroleum resources in the North Sea as of 31.12.2021

Oil and condensate are quoted in million standard cubic metres (Sm³). NGL is quoted in million tonnes, and gas is quoted in billion standard cubic metres. The conversion factor for NGL in tonnes to Sm³ is 1.9. Total oil equivalents are stated in million Sm³ o.e., 1000 Sm³ gas = 1 Sm³ o.e.

Source: Norwegian Petroleum Directorate

Print table Download data Total recoverable petroleum resources in the North Sea as of 31.12.2021

Total recoverable petroleum resources in the North Sea as of 31.12.2021 – Oil and condensate are quoted in million standard cubic metres (Sm³). NGL is quoted in million tonnes, and gas is quoted in billion standard cubic metres. The conversion factor for NGL in tonnes to Sm³ is 1.9. Total oil equivalents are stated in million Sm³ o.e., 1000 Sm³ gas = 1 Sm³ o.e.
Oseberg A
Oseberg A platform in the North Sea. Photo: Harald Pettersen, Equinor (Statoil)

Norwegian Sea

There are 21 producing fields in the Norwegian Sea. One new field, Ærfugl North, started production and four new discoveries were made in the Norwegian Sea in 2021. The largest discovery in the Norwegian Sea was proven in 2005, 6406/9-1 Linnorm.

The resource accounts for the Norwegian Sea show that 62 million Sm3 of o.e. were sold and delivered from this part of the Norwegian shelf over the past year. Gross reserves increased by 100 million Sm3 of o.e., before deducting production. This entails an increase in remaining reserves in the Norwegian Sea of 38 million Sm3 of o.e. in 2021. At year-end, the reserves amount to 466 million Sm3 of o.e.

The estimate for undiscovered resources in the Norwegian Sea is 750 million Sm3 of recoverable o.e. This is distributed between 365 MSm3 of oil and condensate and 385 GSm3 of gas. This is an increase from the previous year of 13 per cent, and 22 per cent for liquids resources and 5 per cent for gas resources, respectively. The increase is linked to plays in the Early Cretaceous and Late Triassic to Middle Jurassic in the more mature areas in the Norwegian Sea and reflects the successful exploration in this area in recent years.

Total recoverable petroleum resources in the Norwegian Sea as of 31.12.2021

Oil and condensate are quoted in million standard cubic metres (Sm³). NGL is quoted in million tonnes, and gas is quoted in billion standard cubic metres. The conversion factor for NGL in tonnes to Sm³ is 1.9. Total oil equivalents are stated in million Sm³ o.e., 1000 Sm³ gas = 1 Sm³ o.e.

Source: Norwegian Petroleum Directorate

Print table Download data Total recoverable petroleum resources in the Norwegian Sea as of 31.12.2021

Total recoverable petroleum resources in the Norwegian Sea as of 31.12.2021 – Oil and condensate are quoted in million standard cubic metres (Sm³). NGL is quoted in million tonnes, and gas is quoted in billion standard cubic metres. The conversion factor for NGL in tonnes to Sm³ is 1.9. Total oil equivalents are stated in million Sm³ o.e., 1000 Sm³ gas = 1 Sm³ o.e.
Skandi Mongstad, supply vessel at Norne
Picture from Norne FPSO in the Norwegian Sea. Photo: Harald Pettersen, Equinor (Statoil)

Barents Sea

There are two producing fields in the Barents Sea, and three new discoveries were made in this sea area in 2021. The largest discovery in the Barents Sea was proven in 2013, 7324/8-1 (Wisting).

The resource accounts for the Barents Sea show that 2 million Sm3 of o.e. were sold and delivered from this part of the Norwegian shelf over the past year. Gross reserves increased by 3 million Sm3 of o.e., before deducting production. The remaining reserves in the Barents Sea increased by 1 million Sm3 of o.e. in 2021. At year-end, the reserves amount to 277 million Sm3 of o.e.

The estimate for undiscovered resources in the Barents Sea is 2,400 million Sm3 of recoverable o.e. This is distributed between 1,280 MSm3 of oil and condensate and 1,120 GSm3 of gas. This is a reduction of four per cent from the previous year for both liquids and gas resources. The entire reduction is associated with the Barents Sea South, where the reduction is 11 per cent for liquids and 8 per cent for gas. This reduction is largely linked to plays in the Triassic in the eastern parts of the area. Recent years' exploration results in the Barents Sea have been disappointing, with an average discovery size of 3.9 MSm3 of recoverable o.e., and this is the primary reason for the reduction. In the previous five-year period, the corresponding figure was 10.6 MSm3 of recoverable o.e.

In the Barents Sea, 59 per cent of the resources are located in areas that have not been opened for petroleum activities, primarily in the Barents Sea North. This is the area with the greatest likelihood of making major discoveries on the Norwegian shelf. There are considerable uncertainties associated with the projections in these areas. The NPD is currently engaged in a geological mapping of the Barents Sea North based on new data collected since the previous mapping in 2016. The resource estimates for this area will be updated in 2022.

Total recoverable petroleum resources in the Barents Sea as of 31.12.2021

Oil and condensate are quoted in million standard cubic metres (Sm³). NGL is quoted in million tonnes, and gas is quoted in billion standard cubic metres. The conversion factor for NGL in tonnes to Sm³ is 1.9. Total oil equivalents are stated in million Sm³ o.e., 1000 Sm³ gas = 1 Sm³ o.e.

Source: Norwegian Petroleum Directorate

Print table Download data Total recoverable petroleum resources in the Barents Sea as of 31.12.2021

Total recoverable petroleum resources in the Barents Sea as of 31.12.2021 – Oil and condensate are quoted in million standard cubic metres (Sm³). NGL is quoted in million tonnes, and gas is quoted in billion standard cubic metres. The conversion factor for NGL in tonnes to Sm³ is 1.9. Total oil equivalents are stated in million Sm³ o.e., 1000 Sm³ gas = 1 Sm³ o.e.
Updated: 17.02.2022