Norway’s Statoil has made a second big oil discovery in the Barents Sea in less than a year and predicted more discoveries to come in the region.
The new oil find, called Havis, may hold between 200 million and 300 million barrels of oil equivalent (boe). The new find combined with the previous and nearby discovery, Skrugard, could provide between 400 million and 600 million boe, Statoil said yesterday (9 January).
"This is extremely positive," said John Olaisen, an analyst at the Carnegie investment banking firm in Oslo. "This is an important strategic asset in a new oil region, so this is very good … One could expect more oil finds in the region after this."
Production at the South Metslawier site, which is estimated to hold 4 billion cubic metres of reserves, is expected to begin in the summer, and last until 2015.
The Norwegian find in the Barents Sea, followed a carve-up of the territory in 2010 between Norway and Russia.
The Arctic region holds 25% of the world’s hydrocarbons, according to the US Geological Survey.
Norway is the world's eighth-largest oil exporter and the second-largest for gas. It has seen declining oil output since 2001, but a string of offshore discoveries have been made over the past year.
Finding oil in the Norwegian part of the Barents Sea had until recently proven to be very difficult.
Over the past 30 years oil companies have drilled 92 exploration wells but only a handful have proven to be hits – Skrugard, Statoil's Snoehvit gas field, Eni's Goliat oilfield and Total's Norvarg discovery.
Statoil now expects to strike more oil in the region around Havis."We believe we now understand (the geology) and have cracked the code in this area," the company’s chief executive Helge Lund said.
"We think we will be able to make additional finds in this licence in the future," he said.
Production at Havis is expected to begin before the end of the decade.
The partners in the latest oil find are Statoil (50%), Italy's Eni (30%) and Norwegian state-owned firm Petoro (20%).