The study, which is an offering from the company's Energy Research Group, provides an in-depth analysis of the offshore drilling industry in Europe and highlights the various concerns, shifting trends and major happenings in regions worldwide.
It is expected that fresh offshore development projects commencing in the next one to two years in Norway will stabilize hydrocarbon production by late 2013 or early 2014. Hydrocarbon production will then remain steady through to 2017.
In terms of exploration activity, there were 13 new discoveries offshore Norway in 2012, possessing together about 132 MMcmoe (million cubic meters of oil equivalent) of fresh hydrocarbon reserves.
The economies of both Norway and the UK have benefited from successful explorations by Statoil. Statoil has submitted plans for four new major projects, with an estimated capital expenditure of $23 billion.
There have been considerable offshore developments in Norway in the recent past. In the North Sea, Statoil plans to produce 225 million barrels of oil equivalent (MMboe) of hydrocarbon from the Dagny oil and gas field. BP plc (BP) has commenced production from the Skarv oil and gas field, in the Norwegian Sea. The capital expenditure allocated for the project is about $7 billion.
According to the latest 2012 estimates from the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate (NPD), total recoverable petroleum resources amount to 13.6 billion cubic meters of oil equivalent, which is about 3.3% higher than the 2011 estimate. The increase was partly because of a rise in offshore reserves. The rise in offshore reserves was because of fresh discoveries, increased estimates of reserves, and an increase in the amount of undiscovered resources.
The NPD estimates that there are much larger undiscovered quantities of oil in the Norwegian shelf, the North Sea, and the Barents Sea, than was previously estimated. Thus, Norway has strong potential for offshore drilling investments over the next two to three years.
Until the end of 2012, offshore hydrocarbon reserves in Britain were reducing consistently. However, the recent discovery of gas and condensate at the North Uist offshore field, off the coast of Shetland, is promising for Britain.
The Rosebank offshore oil and gas field, which is near the North Uist field and operated by Chevron, is also expected to drive development and offshore production in the region. It would also be Britain's deepest offshore field, with a water depth of 1,100 meters.
The UK government has been providing new allowances for offshore fields exceeding water depths of 1,000 meters, and there were government initiatives in 2012 to encourage offshore exploration and production in the form of tax breaks on heavy oil field developments. This has been driving exploration and production activity. For instance, Statoil and its partners launched the giant Mariner project in the North Sea in December 2012. The Talisman/Sinopec's Montrose area redevelopment, in central North Sea, is another example of a positive industry initiative. The project involves the construction of a new processing/production platform (Montrose BLP) linked to the existing Montrose A platform, and handling output from the Cayley and Shaw fields.
The creation of a better environment for investors in the UK has resulted in increased exploratory drilling. In 2013, the Irish exploration and production company Providence Resources plans to drill for hydrocarbon in the offshore regions off the coast of Ireland, mainly in the St George's channel, as well as at the Kish basin, east of Dublin; and the Rathlin basin, off the coast of northern Ireland. Providence Resources is also keen to form partnerships to develop the Barryroe oil and gas field, offshore southern Ireland.
Wintershall successfully found fresh offshore reserves off the coast of Norway, in 2012 and 2013, in the Skarfjell and Asha Noor prospects, respectively (Wintershall, 2013). In the Utsira High region of the North Sea and at the Luno II project, Lundin Petroleum has made successful discoveries. While in the Johan Sverdrup offshore field in the North Sea Statoil has made a discovery. Statoil has also confirmed a fresh gas field discovery in the southern Norwegian Sea.
In the UK, there are several offshore field developments being carried out, including Total's Martin Linge, Statoil's Gina Krog, and DNO's Ivar Aasen field, in the North Sea.
Denmark has also been witnessing offshore developments in the form of the platform-based Hejre oil and gas field development. In early 2013, Iceland issued the country's first offshore exploration license through its national energy authority, Orkustofnun. Iceland has also been cooperating with Norwegian authorities on study projects to assess the feasibility of exploration in the Jan Mayen area.
Offshore drilling expenditure is expected to rise steadily between 2013 and 2016, from about $10.6 billion in 2013, to about $12.8 billion in 2016, at an Average Annual Growth Rate (AAGR) of 6.9%.
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