Amid falling oil prices to their lowest level in nearly 20 years, Norwegian authorities have given permission to drill two wells in the country 's northern waters. On 12 May, the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate announced that a consortium led by Spirit Energy Norway had been granted permission to use the Leiv Eriksson drilling rig at license site No. 719 in the northern part of the Barents Sea.

Russian participation

The company, then still called Centrica, was licensed to the site in 2013 in partnership with LUKOIL Overseas North Shelf and Aker BP.

Both Centrica and Aker BP are active on the Norwegian shelf, while Lukoil is represented on only three licensed sites.

The site is located at 74th degree north latitude, about 60 km from the Wisting field opened by OMV in 2013.

Earlier, the Russian company drilled a dry well as part of a joint project with Lundin, and work on the Stangnestind site, where Aker BP, Equinor and SDØE are also involved, was postponed due to the recent reduction of the investment program.

The Stangnestind structure is located in close proximity to the maritime border with Russia in the Barents Sea. Initially drilling here was to take place as early as 2018.

Lundin Petroleum

Drilling in the Barents Sea will soon be carried out by Swedish Lundin. On 12 May, the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate announced that the company could start drilling at license site No. 533 B in the western part of the Barents Sea.

Drilling will be conducted by the West Bollsta drill, and partners are Aker BP and Wintershall Dea. The main owner of the latter is Russian tycoon Mikhail Friedman, who merged his company 's oil assets with LetterOne BASF in 2019.


News of the upcoming drilling in the Barents Sea appeared against the background of the current serious crisis in the oil industry. Leading Norwegian companies Equinor and Aker BP have significantly reduced investment programs, and suppliers and contractors in the oil and gas sector warn of possible cuts to thousands of workers.

The government support package that Prime Minister Erna Sulberg announced on 12 May includes NOK 100 billion for the oil industry. One measure will be tax incentives that are designed to help companies not reduce investment.

However, the industry itself is not happy with this.

"The government 's proposals to ensure activities in the oil and gas industry do not protect the jobs, value and accumulated experience and knowledge that the country will need in the near future," said Knut Torvaldsen, acting director general of Norway 's Oil and Gas Industry Association.

This goes against our recommendations, the leader of the industry stressed. "The government did not take into account the facts provided by us," - said Torvaldsen.

Shelf of the Barents Sea

Now production in the Norwegian sector of the Barents Sea is going on at two fields. The third project, the Yuhan Kastberg field, is due to enter operation in 2022.

The northernmost Norwegian shelf has long been considered very promising. But recently, after a number of dry wells, interest in it among companies has declined. After years of high expectations, Equinor announced in 2019 that it was leaving the southeastern part of the region.

In January of this year, the Government of Norway distributed another 69 shelf sections, including 13 in the Barents Sea. However, the northern waters were not included in the Government 's announced forthcoming round of site allocation in so-called predetermined areas.

Source: https://pro-arctic.ru/

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