Oil firm ConocoPhillips (COP.N) and partners will invest close to $12 billion to extend the life of Norway’s four-decade-old Ekofisk oil and gas field, which was the first reservoir developed off the Nordic country.
The firm submitted on Thursday to authorities development plans for two fields at the site, Ekofisk South and Eldfisk 2, which aim to extend Ekofisk’s life by another 40 years.
”We need more projects like this … that will increase oil recovery,” Norwegian oil and energy minister Terje Riis-Johansen told reporters.
ConocoPhillips said it would invest 65 billion Norwegian crowns ($11.55 billion), which would bring an additional 60 to 80 billion cubic metres of oil equivalent in output.
With the plans, the recovery rate at Ekofisk would increase from 49.5 percent to 52 percent, while Eldfisk’s would rise from 22 percent to 28.5 percent. Ekofisk South is expected on stream in early 2014 while Eldfisk 2 is due in 2015, the firm said.
If Norwegian authorities approve the development plans by June as expected, ConocoPhillips also expects to award further contracts ”closely after”, the firm’s Norwegian chief, Steinar Vaage, told Reuters after meeting the Norwegian oil minister.
ConocoPhillips has already awarded an Ekofisk-related contract to engineering group Aker Solutions (AKSO.OL).
Norway has long been pushing oil firms to boost the oil recovery at the country’s maturing oilfields.
The oil production of the world’s fifth-largest exporter peaked in 2001 and has been declining since.
ONE EXPLORATION WELL IN Q1
Vaage said the firm would begin drilling one exploration well off Norway, called Peking Duck, at the end of the first quarter and would participate in two new fields operated by Statoil (STL.OL), Visund South and Luva, in the coming years.
”We would like to continue exploring Norway going forward,” Vaage told Reuters. ”So if we see the right opportunities, we will continue to explore.”
”(In terms of exploration) Peking Duck is the most interesting,” he added. ”We also look forward to exploration … in the Barents Sea and the northern Norwegian Sea, off Nordland and Troms.”
The seas off Nordland and Troms are at the centre of a bitter political controversy that is threatening to wreck the ruling Labour party’s coalition.
The three parties are currently discussing whether an impact assessment study of the area will be done, the first step towards opening the area to oil drilling. [ID:nLDE63B0D6] Ekofisk produces an estimated 176,000 barrels of oil per day and 1.72 billion of standard cubic metres of gas per year, according to figures from the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate.
Eldfisk produces an estimated 51,000 barrels of oil per day and half a billion standard cubic metres of gas per year.
Operator ConocoPhillips has a 35 percent stake in Ekofisk and Eldfisk, Eni (ENI.MI) has 12 percent, Norwegian state-owned firm Petoro has 5 percent, Norway’s Statoil (STL.OL) has 8 percent and France’s Total has 40 percent.
Published: September 2, 2011