Equinor Retreats From Frontier Exploration in Norway’s Arctic


(Bloomberg) — Equinor ASA will cut back its deal with the frontier areas of the Barents Sea in one other blow to Norway’s ambition to construct a brand new large oil province in its Arctic area.

“Our focus going ahead might be on the extra prolific areas of the Barents Sea,” Tim Dodson, the corporate’s govt vice chairman for exploration, stated in an interview on Tuesday. Which means drilling close to current discoveries resembling Johan Castberg and Wisting moderately than riskier however probably extra rewarding targets, he stated.

The oil trade’s pleasure for the Barents Sea southeast, a brand new exploration space near the maritime border with Russia, has been adopted by disappointment as the primary 4 wells there did not provide you with something of word. The prospects had a smaller probability of succeeding than others in higher recognized areas, however had excessive hopes hooked up to them as a result of they have been among the largest geological constructions remaining off Norway.

Learn: Equinor Strikes Out at One Extra Oil Prospect in Norway’s Arctic

Norway has been relying on discoveries within the Barents Sea to restrict a decline in its petroleum manufacturing anticipated to begin across the center of the subsequent decade. Whereas the area stays probably the most promising by way of estimated undiscovered oil and fuel, large finds are essential to justify costly developments in an space that lacks the vitality infrastructure of the North Sea.

“It was at all times a frontier space, nearly a virgin space; we typically neglect that there was excessive geological threat on this,” Dodson stated. “You may say disappointing, however you could possibly additionally add the phrases ‘not shocking’ to that.”

Equinor, wherein the Norwegian authorities owns 67%, has been probably the most lively explorer within the Barents Sea in recent times. One other explorer within the area, Lundin Petroleum AB, has stated it should reassess its curiosity in your entire space if no main discoveries are made by the tip of subsequent yr.

The Barents Sea has solely two fields in manufacturing, Snohvit and Goliat. Equinor’s Castberg will begin producing in 2022, however ultimate funding selections have but to be made for the probably candidates for future initiatives, Lundin’s Alta and Equinor’s Wisting.

Dodson made his feedback on the sidelines of Equinor’s annual Autumn Convention in Oslo, the place Chief Govt Officer Eldar Saetre stated in a speech that Norway’s oil and fuel manufacturing is about to drop by greater than half by 2050 even when all current alternatives are seized and extra discoveries are made.

Saetre’s forecast goes far past official prognoses from the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate, the trade regulator, which expects oil and fuel manufacturing to be 12% decrease in 2030 than 2018 after peaking regionally in 2023. The Equinor CEO’s feedback have been meant as a counter-argument to politicians and local weather activists who’re advocating for a deliberate shutdown of Norway’s oil and fuel trade.



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