After a disappointing year for drillers, Norwegian authorities are reviewing their hopes for the Nordic country’s hottest exploration area.
“In the part of the Barents Sea that’s currently open, you’ve sort of tried the elephants — the big opportunities,” Bente Nyland, the head of the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate, said in an interview. “You’re now down to the next generation in size.”
Apart from Statoil ASA’s Snohvit gas field, no single discovery in the Barents has reached half a billion barrels. A record drilling campaign in the region last year yielded only one oil discovery with commercial potential. A particular disappointment was Statoil’s Korpfjell well, the first to be drilled in the newly-opened Barents Sea South-East region abutting Russian waters. Estimated to have billion-barrel potential, the prospect proved to hold only unprofitable amounts of gas.