Finally some good news for Norway’s troubled state oil company Equinor, if not for climate activists: The company and three partners including the state have struck oil and gas near the Troll oil field in the North Sea. It may be worth as much as USD 586 million at current oil prices.
Equinor announced Friday that recoverable resources from the new oil strike are estimated at between 44 million and 69 million barrels of oil equivalents. Called the Røver North discovery, it adds to earlier oil strikes in the mature area around the Troll and Fram fields where there’s also existing infrastructure for oil and gas operations.
The area is located around 130 kilometers northwest of Bergen, making it more easily accessible and not so expensive to develop as areas in the Arctic, where oil exploration is particularly controversial. Equinor’s partners in the latest venture are Petoro (in charge of the state’s own direct oil investments), DNO Norge and Wellesley Petroleum, and their wells were drilled by the West Hercules rig. It will now drill another exploration well in the northern North Sea.
Oil prices, meanwhile, hit their highest level in the past year on Friday, up 8 percent just over the past week. Energy analyst Nadia Martin Wiggen of Pareto told newspaper Dagens Næringsliv (DN) there were several reasons for the increase: Saudi Arabia has kept its oil price high and upheld production cuts for February and March, while demand often rises around Chinese New Year in China and now in the US as well, not least because of cold winter weather. New US President Joe Biden, keen to cut emissions from oil and gas, also wants to halt new oil and gas exploration in the Arctic and oil operations on federal land. It’s all good news for Norwegian oil producers, even though they’re under increasing climate and environmental pressure as well.