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Book Chapter

The Hydrocarbon Potential of the Norwegian Continental Shelf

Finn Roar Aamodt
Finn Roar Aamodt
Norwegian Petroleum Directorate Stavanger, Norway
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January 01, 1992


Exploration for hydrocarbons on the Norwegian continental shelf began in 1965. The first commercial discovery (Ekofisk), made in 1969, led to first production of hydrocarbons in 1971. Subsequently, many oil and gas fields were discovered, 19 of which were in production by June 1989. Numerous fields will be developed in the next decade. It is anticipated that by mid-1990 total Norwegian oil and gas production will be about 100 million and 30 million TOE, respectively. Oil production is still growing, and gas production is expected to grow significantly from the turn of the century. Proved resources for the entire Norwegian continental shelf as of June 1989 were estimated at 5.26 billion TOE—2.16 billion TOE of oil and 3.1 billion TOE of gas. Most of these resources (60%) lie in giant fields. All the discovered giants are either in production or in the development phase. Most of them were discovered from 1978 to 1985.

Exploration costs are increasing because most of the recent discoveries are smaller than previous ones. However, exploration costs in Norway are still lower than in most other areas. The R/P (resource/production) ratios for Norway are approximately 20 for oil and 120 for gas. The remaining unproved potential of the Norwegian continental shelf is expected to be at least 4 to 5 billion TOE, of which 70% or more is anticipated to be gas. New resources will have to be found in the North Sea, offshore mid-Norway, and in the Barents Sea.

The future challenges for Norway will be to discover new oil fields, to make economically viable the smaller existing fields, to enhance oil recovery from existing fields, and to find markets for its large gas resources. Norway will remain a major oil-producing nation well into the next century, and a major gas-producing nation for a much longer period.

Editor's note: An oral presentation on the hydrocarbon potential of the Norwegian continental shelf was made at the conference in Stavanger; however, a full paper was not written. The illustrations that accompanied the oral presentation are sufficiently self-explanatory that it is appropriate to include them in this volume, along with the abstract from the conference program.

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Figures & Tables


AAPG Memoir

Giant Oil and Gas Fields of the Decade 1978-1988

Michel T. Halbouty
Michel T. Halbouty
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American Association of Petroleum Geologists
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Publication date:
January 01, 1992




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