Norway's Northernmost Oil Find Could Start Production in 2026

Island Innovator drilled on the Wisting license in 2017 (Photo: OMV)
Island Innovator drilled on the Wisting license in 2017 (Photo: OMV)

Austria's OMV and partners plan to invest up to $6 billion initially to develop the Arctic Wisting oil find, Norway's northernmost oil discovery, which could start production within a decade, a senior executive said on Wednesday.

OMV owns a 25 percent stake in the Wisting license and the other stakeholders are Norway's Equinor, Norwegian state-owned firm Petoro and Japan's Idemitsu.

OMV said on Monday that the recoverable resource estimate of the find had increased to 440 million barrels of oil, from 350 million barrels previously, after drilling of an appraisal well at the site in 2017.

Knut Mauseth, head of OMV's Norwegian subsidiary, told Reuters on the sidelines of an energy conference on Wednesday that the group plans an initial investment of 40 billion-50 billion Norwegian crowns ($4.7 bln-$5.9 bln) to develop the find.

Trade publication was first to report the preliminary cost estimate.

Wisting is Norway's northernmost oilfield, located 300 kilometers (186 miles) north of the Nordic country's mainland.

Mauseth said a floating production, storage and offloading (FPSO) vessel would be used as a production facility and oil from the field would be exported from the field by tankers.

A decision on the type of FPSO would be taken in 2020, with production expected to start in 2026, he said.

Questions over oil terminal
The Norwegian government is keen for oil firms to develop new oil and gas in the Barents Sea and is considering building an oil terminal on mainland Norway to handle oil exports from offshore fields.

Mauseth, however, said OMV did not believe a terminal would be economically viable.

"If it makes sense, we are prepared to consider that, but so far the numbers haven't been favorable, it's not economic to do it that way," he told Reuters.

On other projects, OMV plans this year to drill one appraisal well at its Hades/Iris gas and condensate discovery in the Norwegian Sea, one of the largest finds off Norway in 2017, Mauseth said.

The discovery, near the Equinor-operated Morvin field, so far is estimated to hold 6.2-34.1 billion cubic meters of gas and 1.2-8.2 million cubic meters (7.5-51.6 million barrels) of condensate.

The Norwegian Petroleum Directorate, the state agency managing the Nordic country's oil and gas resources, said the discovery was expected to have a significant upside.

"If it (the appraisal well) provides good news, then we have another development project," Mauseth said.

(Image: Norwegian Petroleum Directorate)

($1 = 8.5386 Norwegian crowns)

(Editing by Gwladys Fouche and Susan Fenton)

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