The Norwegian Petroleum Directorate (NPD) recently released a summary of its resource accounts at the end of 2013 and revealed that the total original recoverable reserves in the Norwegian Continental Shelf (NCS) have touched 14.2 billion cubic meters (scm) in 2013. Of this total, remaining reserves made up 3.17 billion scm while a large chunk of these reserves (nearly 44%) has already been extracted from the NCS.

Table 1: Total recoverable reserves potential of the NCS

Recoverable Reserves
Source: Norwegian Petroleum Directorate

Major recoverable reserves still lie in the North Sea

The data from NPD revealed that the majority of the resources lie in the North Sea despite the recent hype over the potential of the Barents Sea. It was noted that 91% of the crude oil reserves lie in the North Sea while 67% of natural gas and 65% of NGL reserves also reside in the depths of the North Sea.

Figure 1: Reserves in the different areas of the NCS

Recoverable Reserves
Source: Norwegian Petroleum Directorate

On the other hand, future potential is proven to lie in the Barents Sea. Data showed that the majority of undiscovered resources of gas and condensate lie in the Barents Sea. Barents Sea has proven its richness in condensate products rather than crude oil as it also contains the most reserves of condensate among the three areas.

Figure 2: Undiscovered resources (million scm)

Recoverable Reserves
Source: Norwegian Petroleum Directorate

Slow growth in 2013

There was a moderate growth in total reserves in 2013, mainly led by growth in undiscovered resources, which comprised 350 million scm of the total 586 million scm of the additional reserves in 2013. Furthermore, growth has been seen in the Barents Sea area where the Southeastern Barents Sea and the shelf around Jan Mayen together account for 60% of the increase in the NCS reserves.

Reserves grew by 102 million scm in 2013, compares with 344 million scm in the previous year. ‘The reason for the low growth rate is that development decisions have been made only for four minor discoveries. Reserve growth from producing fields is the main contributor to the increase in reserves. The greatest increase is in gas reserves, where the Snøhvit field is the largest contributor. The Snorre, Grane and Troll fields have shown the greatest increase in oil reserves. In 2013, 215 million scm were sold and delivered, thus reducing net reserves by 113 million scm,’ reports the NPD.

The NPD further elaborates: “In 2005, the NPD set an oil reserve growth target of 800 million scm by 2015. Oil reserves increased last year by 29 million scm. In comparison, 85 million scm of oil were sold in 2013.. Two million scm of the 2013 growth comes from discoveries the licensees have decided to develop, and 27 million scm comes from fields. Nine years after the NPD set this target, the accumulated reserve growth totals 636 million scm. This is 80 per cent of the authorities’ objective, and shows that it may be difficult to achieve a resource growth of 800 million Scm of oil by 2015.”

Statoil remains the leader in the area

Statoil ASA (NYSE:STO) remained the major operator in the area, being the operator in 47 of the 91 fields currently producing or with approved development plans. At the same time, major companies like Total SA (ADR) (NYSE:TOT) E&P Norge AS and Eni SpA (ADR) (NYSE:E) Norge AS held operatorship in only two fields each while ConocoPhillips (NYSE:COP) Skandinavia AS was the operator for four fields.