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Exploration in the Norwegian Sea Deepwater – Future Challenges

Viggo M. Tjensvoll, Previous HitJonTop B. Kristensen, Maren K.M. Skaten, Linda Beate Aasum, and Morgane Pichard
Statoil ASA, Stavanger, Norway

The Norwegian Sea deepwater area offshore mid Norway covers an area of 180.000 km2 and water depths range from 500-2500 meters. It is a frontier region located west of the well established mid Norway petroleum province. The area comprises a Jurassic to Cretaceous rift basin that developed into a volcanic passive margin in the earliest Eocene. In the post break-up period the area was subjected to compression resulting in widespread tectonic inversion.
Since the area was opened for exploration in 1996, only 13 exploration wells have been drilled. Three Cretaceous plays and one Tertiary play have been proven. Six discoveries have been made, three in the Vøring Basin and three in the Møre Basin, including the giant Ormen Lange gas field.
However, there are still untested plays and large untested provinces. Considering the size and complexity of the area with the modest number of wells, the area remains an underexplored frontier region.
Past exploration mainly targeted giant structures. Upcoming production and field development in the area have paved the way for a revitalisation of the activity in the region, now targeting new and smaller exploration targets.
We believe that the key challenges of future exploration in this region are the following:
1) Improve seismic imaging sub-basalt to enable prospect definition. The recent Tulipan Discovery drilled in the western part of the basin proved a new play that opens up for sub-basalt exploration.
2) Improve seismic quality to better understand the pre-stack amplitude information. Despite some set-backs, post-drill analyses on all deepwater wells show that careful DHI analysis can be used as an important prospect risk modifier.
3) Understanding the spatial distribution of the various source rocks and their contribution to the fill and spill history of traps.


AAPG Search and Discovery Article #90072 © 2007 AAPG and AAPG European Region Conference, Athens, Greece