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Undiscovered petroleum resources in the South-Eastern part of the Norwegian Barents Sea


One of the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate's (NPD) most important tasks is to produce estimates of undiscovered resources on the Norwegian Continental Shelf (NCS). The NPD has access to all petroleum data from the NCS, and accordingly possesses the best basis for preparing an independent and well-qualified estimation of the total resource potential.

After the treaty with Russia on maritime delimitation and collaboration in the Barents Sea and the Arctic Ocean came into force in 2011, work began on a process to open the South eastern part of the Norwegian part of the Barents Sea for petroleum activities. The sea area covered by this process embraces some 44 000 square kilometers. The NPD has mapped the geology of the area and estimated its resource potential.

Five large regional geological elements define the structural picture in the South eastern part of the Norwegian part of the Barents Sea. One of the biggest challenges in this area is the sealing potential. Also presence of source rocks that could have formed sufficient quantities of oil and gas to fill the structures is uncertain.

Whether petroleum exists in an unexplored area is always uncertain. Calculating resources in plays takes account of this uncertainty by risk-assessing the various parameters of significance for the presence and retention of petroleum. Plays are also defined with uncertainty distributions for different reservoir and liquid parameters. The petroleum potential and uncertainties are modeled and calculated by use of geological dependencies and risks between plays and sub-plays.

The remaining undiscovered resources reflect the exploration potential with today's knowledge and understanding. Expected recoverable resources for Barents Sea South-East are estimated to be about 300 million scm oe, with a downside (P95) of 55 million scm oe and an upside (P05) of 565 million scm oe.