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Oil firms must explore more off Norway to maintain output, says Petoro

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Staff Writer | March 15, 2018
Petoro, a state-owned limited company which manages the SDFI in the Norwegian oil and gas sector, is delivering NOK 87 billion to the state in 2017, NOK 21 billion more than in 2016.
Grethe Moen
Oil exploration   Exploration activity is too low
"We are experiencing an economic upturn, so now we have to ensure that operations stay efficient and lay the foundation for future production by discovering more oil and gas," says Grethe Moen, president and CEO of Petoro.

The increased income is primarily due to a higher oil price, record-high gas production and efficiency. European demand for gas continues to rise.

Part of this growth is due to higher coal prices and the phasing out of coal power plants. Norway is the world's third largest exporter of gas and now covers as much as 25 per cent of the EU's demand for gas.

"Over the last few years, operators and suppliers have done an impressive job in making the activities more efficient," says Moen.

"Now we are seeing the results. The high number of new development applications proves that we are competitive. This was last year's most positive piece of oil news," Moen emphasises.

"Seven new development plans were submitted in December 2017 alone, worth a total of NOK 100 billion. This year, we are also seeing increased activity in the supplier industry, which is supported by the economic outlook surveys conducted by Sparebank 1 SR-Bank and Sparebanken Vest.

"Moving forward, the challenge is to maintain this effect and continue the improvement. Further efficiency measures are crucial in order to maintain competitiveness," says the President and CEO, referring to the Konkraft report from January 2018, which points out specific opportunities within digitalisation and new forms of cooperation.

"The industry must realise these opportunities," Moen emphasises.

Exploration activity is too low and must be intensified. After the major developments on Sverdrup, Castberg and Snorre, new projects are needed. In order to maintain petroleum production at the current level beyond 2025, it is entirely necessary to prove additional profitable resources.

Exploration in the Barents Sea in the summer of 2017 was a disappointment, but we have barely started mapping this exciting exploration acreage.

The size of new discoveries is also declining, so it is encouraging that more exploration wells are planned in 2018 than has been the case for a number of years. Petoro is participating in about 20 of these.

The disappointing development within serious incidents leading up to the summer of 2017 has been reversed, although the number remains too high.

Continued focused efforts from all players are therefore necessary in order to ensure that the positive development continues, and we must do a better job of learning from both our own experience and the experience of others.

Petoro is delivering NOK 87 billion to the state in 2017, which is NOK 21 billion more than in 2016. This is due to stronger oil prices and gas production reaching record levels in 2017.

The increase is primarily due to increased use of flexible gas production in order to exploit higher prices.

Natural production decline from existing wells means that liquids production was nearly three per cent lower than in 2016.

Increased regularity and new wells are not contributing to the same extent as before to counteract the natural decline in production from mature fields.