Oil patch insider: Although Statoil left Alaska, it still invests in Arctic elsewhere
Click here to go to the full PDF version of this issue, with any maps, photos or other artwork that appears in
some of the articles.
One of the major oil companies that left Alaska in recent years, Norway-based Statoil, continues to invest in northern oil and gas fields elsewhere in the world, including Norway and Canada. (See “Norway pushes for more Arctic drilling: Offers drilling incentives, auctioning 136 blocks for frontier area oil exploration, including 125 Barents blocks once off-limits” in the July 5 issue of Petroleum News.)
Statoil, which changed its name to Equinor in 2018, is in fact looking for a drilling rig for a new exploration venture it operates in the northern Barents Sea. Wisting is the first oil field discovered in the Hoop-Maud basin of the Barents. It is estimated to contain between 200 million and 500 million barrels of oil equivalent in a shallow reservoir 820 feet below the seabed.
The latest international news from Equinor, which employs 21,000 people in 30 countries, is that another former Alaska player, BP, is spending $1.1 billion to buy a 50% ownership from the Norwegian oil company in two Northeast U.S. offshore wind projects for what the partners call “a strategic partnership for future growth.”
Despite investments in wind and solar energy, Equinor remains one of the world’s largest offshore oil and gas operators and the largest operator on the Norwegian continental shelf.
Following are some of the new northern fields where the company is active:
* Bay du Nord 2013 oil discovery in the Flemish Pass offshore Newfoundland, where work is ongoing to assess options for development. The Bay du Nord project holds as estimated 300 million barrels of recoverable oil.
* The Johan Castberg (formerly Skrugard) field is approximately 62 miles north of the Snøhvit field in the Barents Sea. The Johan Castberg development project’s resource base consists of the three oil discoveries - Skrugard, Havis and Drivis - that hold between 400 and 650 million barrels of proven oil. Johan Castberg is expected to come on stream in 2023 and produce for 30 years.
* The gigantic Johan Sverdrup oil and gas field went online Oct. 5, 2019. It’s Norway’s third largest oil field - ever. One of the partners in the field is BP. Johan Sverdrup currently produces more than 300,000 barrels per day and has recoverable reserves of 2.7 billion barrels of oil equivalent.
* The Mariner oil field, which went onstream in August 2019, is Equinor’s first operated development in the UK North Sea. It is expected to produce more than 300 million barrels of oil over the next 30 years and is one of the largest industrial projects in the UK in recent years, supporting more than 700 long term jobs.
Statoil followed ShellAfter nearly eight years in Alaska, Statoil followed Shell’s example in 2015 and relinquished its stake in its federally managed leases in the Chukchi Sea.
Like Shell, Statoil (now Equinor) is no longer an operator in Alaska but unlike Shell, which continues to hold leases that it allows partners to operate, Statoil completely left the state.
On Nov. 17, 2015, Statoil Executive Vice President for Exploration Tim Dodson said that Statoil would leverage its experience in Alaska’s Arctic to improve its future operations in other “northern environments” around the world.
- KAY CASHMAN