WPC: Experts Discuss Exploration and Production in the Arctic

June 17, 2014

The Arctic remains one of the last "frontiers" to be conquered by the oil and gas industry's exploration and production sector. In order to explore for Arctic hydrocarbon resources, innovative solutions requiring significant investment are needed as well as sound laws and balanced decision-making that takes into account protection of the environment. These were the topics of discussion at the 21st World Petroleum Congress E&P session dedicated to the Arctic which was held on June 16. 

Speaking at the session, Norwegian Petroleum Directorate (NPD) exploration director Sissel Erikson told attendees that Norway was quite active in exploring for hydrocarbons in the Barents Sea. He said 20 test wells were drilled in 2013. This activity was justified he said because only 20% of the resources in the Barents Sea have been explored.

NExt year, the 23rd stage of licensing, which will see 160 blocks on offer (140 of which are located in the central part of the Barents Sea), is to begin. So far, 36 E&P licences have been granted. Four of these licenses were awarded to Eni E&P, Pierre Turati, a specialist with Eni E&P social initiatives said.

In its work at blocks in the north and east sections of the Barents Sea, Eni E&P relies on its own experience acquired earlier in joint efforts with Statoil at the Goliat field. Under recommendations including environmental impact assessments, the company developed a plan for cleaning up oil spills. The plan makes use of a fleet of 30 fishing vessels and a rapid response force. The vessel system uses dispersants adapted for Arctic conditions.  

"Of 113 licensed blocks on the Russian shelf, 67 are located in the Arctic", Vasiliy Bogoyavlenskiy, the deputy director of oil and gas issues at the Russian Academy of Sciences, said. The size of the licensed blocks is 1.75 million cubic meters. Of this, 55% is worked by Rosneft, and 15.47% by Gazprom. Bogoyavlenskiy said that by 2020 Russian waters in the Arctic could be producing at best case scenario no more than 20-22 mln tons of oil per year, at realistic scenario – no more than 8-10 mln tons per year.

Copyright, Oil&Gas Eurasia, 2014.