The controversial near-catastrophe that hit Statoil’s Gullfaks oil field three years ago has resulted in a new discovery at the site that sent Statoil’s stock up sharply late last week. Statoil officials think the new find may yield between 40 million and 150 million barrels of oil.
Statoil announced the paradoxical discovery on Friday, noting that “what had been a huge challenge at Gullfaks has opened up a huge opportunity.” The oil field has been the site of what’s been called a near blowout on its Gullfaks C platform and another major leak on its Gullfaks B platform.
Newspaper Dagens Næringsliv (DN) reported that in the wake of the problems, Statoil altered procedures regarding its wells to reduce pressure on the reservoir, and also started re-mapping the seafloor under the field. Statoil officials said they knew there was oil in the formation over the Gullfaks reservoir but geologists thought it was impossible to extract it.
That’s proven to be untrue, with oil streaming out of the formation in recent months. It can also lead to additional discoveries, with the total amount being more than current estimates and extractable at relatively low cost. The current estimates put the potential value of the additional Gullfaks oil at NOK 7 billion.