24/Jul/2014 - Last News Update: 17:58

Statoil doubles estimated size of North Sea find

Category: Business

Published: 21st Oct 2011 12:50:38

Norwegian oil firm Statoil has said there are twice the oil reserves it previously estimated in its newly discovered North Sea field.

Statoil now says the Aldous Major South field contains between 900 million and 1.5 billion barrels of recoverable oil.

The find is linked to the Avaldsnes field operated by Swedish firm Lundin Petroleum.

The fields mark one of the largest ever discoveries in the North Sea, which has seen declining output in recent years.

"Aldous/Avaldsnes is a giant, and one of the largest finds ever on the Norwegian continental shelf," said Tim Dodson, executive vice president for Exploration at Statoil.

Much of the discovery is in shallower water, making the oil potentially easier to extract and at lower risk.

"This giant discovery has been made in shallow waters in the North Sea. Because of this the value is particularly high," said Erik Haugane, chief executive of Det Norske Oljeselskap, who are partners with Statoil on the Aldous field.

The other partners in the project are Lundin Petroleum and Norwegian state-owned Petoro.

The huge Aldous and Avaldsnes discoveries have come as a big surprise to the industry.

It is rated as one of the five largest discoveries in the North Sea yet - with previous big ones all dating back decades.

Investments in these fields could spur an increase in activity in the North Sea, boosting tax revenue not only for Norway but for the UK as well.

New technology and the developed infrastructure of the North Sea has already allowed smaller firms to take over existing UK fields and extract more oil than previously thought possible.

But new drilling in the UK is likely to be in far deeper water and so more expensive.

And whilst drilling in the Norwegian part of the North Sea has already picked up, analysis from Deutsche Bank suggests the recovery in the UK will be slower.

The North Sea has seen oil production fall sharply in recent years as old fields are exhausted.

Figures from the BP statistical bulletin for 2010 show UK oil production was down 7.7% and UK gas output 4.3% lower. Norwegian production fell even faster.

But recent finds may help reduce the rate of decline - even if they are unlikely to increase production back to previous levels.

In the UK the new drilling has been concentrated in the deeper water West of Shetland area.

Earlier this month, BP announced a £4.5bn investment in the Clair Ridge scheme, and earlier this year the company unveiled a £3bn redevelopment of the Schielhallion and Loyal fields, also to the west of the Shetland Islands.

In shallower water the Norwegian find will cost less to extract.

"It would make a difference to the decline rate," said Professor Alex Kemp from the University of Aberdeen.

"There will be quite a big increase, big enough to at least moderate the decline rate [in UK and Norwegian production] and possibly stop it for a few years."

BBC News External Link Show Citation

Latest News

Harvard Citation

BBC News, 2011. Statoil doubles estimated size of North Sea find [Online] (Updated 21st Oct 2011)
Available at: http://www.ukwirednews.com/news/195795/Statoil-doubles-estimated-size-of-North-Sea-find [Accessed 24th Jul 2014]

News In Other Categories

  • Bristol Academy extends reach overseas with first foreign students

    With the doors to its brand new £1million training centre officially open, one of the UK's leading apprentice training providers, Bristol based S&B Automotive Academy, is showcasing its world-class facilities by launching a series of foreign student exchanges for the first time in its 41-year history. To get a flavour of what life is like as an apprentice in the UK, the Academy hosted 16 apprentice engineers and bus drivers from the G9 Automotive College in Hamburg, Germany, as part of a Europe-wide vocational training initiative called the ‘Leonardo Programme’ with support from the European Social Fund. In a reciprocal arrangement, S&B will be sending nine apprentices to Germany during February 2012 so that they can get an appreciation of life in the automotive industry on the Continent. A further three German exchange groups are being planned for next year. Designed to assist the development of vocational skills and training across Europe, including work placements for trainees, the Leonardo Programme has a budget of €1.75bn, which is helping to encourage UK organisations to work with their counterparts abroad. In what is expected to be another challenging year for employers in the UK automotive sector, S&B’s Chief Executive, Jon Winter, claims that the exchange initiative will bring many benefits to the Academy and its apprentices: “In a world of global automotive brands, it’s important for our learners to understand the international context of the industry they have chosen to make their career. This new exchange programme will enable apprentices and Academy staff alike to achieve a better understanding of the challenges and opportunities within the automotive arena in Europe. With the Academy’s influence also extending to the USA and Asia, there’s every possibility that this initiative could move further afield in the future.” Continued Winter: “The need for skilled technicians across the world is on the increase and we actively encourage our apprentices to look at broader horizons during their training. Many of them have already learned the phrase ‘Vorsprung durch Gelehrtheit’, quite simply, ‘Advancement through learning.” In the 2010/11 academic year, S&B doubled the number of successful Apprenticeships over the previous year with some 350 apprentices graduating from the Academy. At the same time, achievement levels reached an all-time high with an overall success rate of 85%. For those learners on the Advanced Apprenticeship three-year programme, success rates were even higher, at over 98%. PHOTO CAPTION: As part of their exchange visit, S&B Automotive Academy arranged for the German apprentices to visit Hampshire bus operator, Bluestar, at its Barton Park depot. The students are pictured with S&B’s Andy West (3rd right) and Steve Prewett, Bluestar’s Area Engineering Manager (2nd right). Ends http://www.sandbaa.com
  • Shetland drugs mule Derek McLean jailed for three years

    A drugs mule from Ayr has been jailed for three years after he admitted attempting to smuggle heroin worth almost £13,000 into Shetland.
  • Government 'loses £700m NHS IT legal battle with Fujitsu'

    Taxpayers could be hit with a bill for up to £700m after the government reportedly lost a legal battle with Fujitsu over a failed NHS IT system.
  • Twitter staff male-dominated

    Twitter has become the latest tech firm to admit that most of its staff members are men.
  • Glasgow 2014: Sir Bradley Wiggins and England beaten by Australia

    Sir Bradley Wiggins was denied a first Commonwealth Games gold as Australia beat England in the final of the 4,000m team pursuit in Glasgow.
  • Government 'loses £700m NHS IT legal battle with Fujitsu'

    Taxpayers could be hit with a bill for up to £700m after the government reportedly lost a legal battle with Fujitsu over a failed NHS IT system.