11 December 2013, News Wires – A Statoil-led alliance of 17 major oil companies has launched a tender process for an extensive seismic survey to be carried out early next year on south-east Barents Sea blocks to be offered in Norway’s 23rd licensing round.
The 3D survey work is due to kick off in April over a 44,000 square-kilometre area formerly disputed between Norway and Russia that is estimated to hold about 1.9 billion barrels of oil equivalent, mostly gas.
The acquired data will be made available to bidders on blocks to be offered in the round next year, after a block nomination deadline of 14 January, with interest likely to be high as it is the first new area to be opened off Norway in two decades.
Statoil has roped in fellow heavyweights BP, Chevron and ConocoPhillips as well as independents Wintershall, Repsol and Lundin Petroleum in the joint seismic project, which is operated by the Norwegian state oil company.
Statoil’s exploration chief for Norway Gro Haatvedt said co-ordinated seismic acquisition would ensure improved data quality by taking advantage of the companies’ collective geological expertise as well as cut costs by carrying out fewer surveys, while also minimising disruption to the fishing industry in the Arctic region.
“High-quality 3D data will be important to the industry in order to increase understanding of the area’s potential,” she added.
The project, which initially attracted interest from 30 companies, will be opened up for other interested players to come onboard at a later stage.