Norway expecting more exploration drilling

Uchenna Izundu
International Editor

LONDON, Jan. 14 -- Operators are expected to drill 35-40 exploration wells on the Norwegian Continental Shelf in 2008, the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate said.

NPD reported 32 wells were spudded last year, resulting in 12 small discoveries. Of the 32 total, 20 were wildcat wells and 12 were appraisal wells.

High oil prices encouraged operators to significantly increase their activities, but this also meant that costs soared too.

"Continued growth in total investment costs is expected," NPD officials said. The shelf produced 1.5 billion boe in 2007, which was 164 million boe less than the record set in 2004.

One problem with exploration growth was the impact on the environment where emissions and discharges rose.

The NPD approved eight plans for development and operation (PDO) for 9 new deposits in 2007. Around 10 PDOs are expected to be submitted to the authorities in 2008.

However, gas production rose in 2007 while oil production fell compared with 2006.

Production started from four oil and gas fields: Blane, Enoch, Ormen Lange, and Snøhvit.

An additional three fields are expected to start producing in 2008: Alvheim, Vilje, and Volve.

During 2007, NPD collected 2,617 km of seismic data in the Nordland VII and Troms II areas, and it will shoot more data this summer.

Contact Uchenna Izundu at uchennai@pennwell.com.

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