Wintershall strikes oil off Trondheim

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German oil and gas firm Wintershall reported its second “significant” oil discovery on the Norwegian continental shelf, striking as much as 120 million barrels of oil about 200 kilometers off Trondheim. The discovery is among the largest in Norway this year.

“We are extremely satisfied with our exploration performance in Norway,” said Harald Vabø, general manager of Wintershall Norge ASA. He called the oil strike the second of “two excellent discoveries in our two first operated wells Grosbeak and Maria.”

He said the challenge now “will be to move these discoveries rapidly from the exploration to the development phase.” The well is located near existing infrastructure and building it out is expected to be commercially viable.

The well was drilled on the Halten terrace near the Tyrihans and Åsgard fields in the Norwegian Sea. Wintershall said it is estimated to yield between 60 million and 120 million barrels of recoverable light oil and between 2 billion and 5 billion standard cubic meters of recoverable gas.

The Maria well was drilled at a depth of 303 meters by the Songa Delta drilling rig, reaching a vertical depth of 4,216 meters below sea level. Kassel-based Wintershall, a unit of BASF, is the operator of the field in which it holds a 25 percent stake in its license. Its partners include Faroe Petroleum Norge AS with 30 percent, Centrica Resources Norge AS (20 percent), Spring Energy Norge AS (15 percent) and Concedo ASA (10 percent).

The new oil discovery comes at a time when concerns have been raised about the future of Norway’s oil and gas industry, with the oil expected to run out by the middle of this century. Statoil has been busy diversifying overseas, while other players are counting on revenues from gas, but many experts claim new oil can still be found in wells near existing structures, which Wintershall’s strikes seem to confirm.

Views and News from Norway/Nina Berglund
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