Norway tastes exploration success in 2020 despite pandemic-induced slump
Norway capped off a surprisingly rewarding exploration year with yet another significant discovery mid December, elevating the country’s collective tally of discovered resources in 2020 to nearly 600 million barrels of oil equivalent (boe). This volume assessment, which is based on the mid-point estimate provided by the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate (NPD), makes 2020 the country’s most productive exploration year since before oil prices crashed in 2014.
Overall, the year saw a modest 33 wellbores completed on the Norwegian continental shelf (NCS) – a lower number than initially expected due to the Covid-19 pandemic – but the volumetric results still rival those of previous years that showed higher drilling activity. One more well is currently in progress in Norway but is not expected to be completed before the end of the month.
December's discovery well – the Slagugle wildcat – was drilled in the Norwegian Sea by US major ConocoPhillips, which notched its second NCS find in six weeks. Preliminary estimates put the size of the Slagugle prospect at between 75 million and 200 million boe, generating a mid-point estimate of about 138 million boe. This makes Slagugle the country’s largest discovery of the year, slightly ahead of the Warka find announced by the same operator in early November. With these finds, ConocoPhillips convincingly secures the crown as Norway’s exploration champion of 2020, accounting for almost half of all discovered resources.
Figure 3 stacks all of Norway’s 2020 discoveries, with their reported mid-point estimates as published by the NPD upon announcement. Including ConocoPhillips’ Slagugle, the final tally adds up to 586 million boe across 14 discoveries, all of which are located close to existing infrastructure and could therefore be commercially viable despite the limited size of the smallest accumulations.