OMV, the operator of the northernmost oil discovery offshore Norway—Wisting in the Barents Sea—could begin production in 2026, the Senior Vice President of OMV’s Norwegian unit, Knut Mauseth, told Reuters on Wednesday, in what could be some relief for Norway’s oil industry amid current forecasts that production will decline from the mid-2020s in the absence of new major oil discoveries.
Earlier this week, OMV said that the estimated recoverable volumes in the Wisting discovery had increased to 440 million barrels of oil in place, from 350 million barrels previously estimated.
“Data from the latest appraisal well and the seismic data acquired have given us a better understanding of the area and the resources. We now see the increased potential of Wisting”, Mauseth said in a statement.
Currently, OMV and partners are studying the option to produce oil from the discovery via a floating production storage and offloading (FPSO) unit. The final concept selection is expected in 2020, OMV said.
The development of Wisting will probably need investments of US$4.7 billion-US$5.8 billion (40 billion-50 billion Norwegian crowns), Mauseth told Norwegian industry outlet petro.no on Wednesday.
OMV is the operator with a 25-percent working interest in the production license where the Wisting discovery was made in 2013. The other shareholders are Norway’s Equinor with 35 percent and Petoro with 20 percent, as well as the Norwegian unit of Japanese petroleum firm Idemitsu with the remaining 20 percent.
Speaking to Reuters on Wednesday, OMV’s Mauseth said that production at Wisting could begin in 2026.
According to the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate (NPD), production at Wisting is likely, but not yet clarified.
In the Barents Sea, Snøhvit and Goliat are currently in production and then comes Equinor’s Johan Castberg, scheduled for first oil in 2022—this will lead to more infrastructure construction in the Barents Sea that could boost exploration in the area, Mauseth told petro.no.
According to the NPD’s resource estimate, nearly two-thirds of the undiscovered resources on the Norwegian Continental Shelf lie in the Barents Sea. The industry and the oil regulator are concerned that Norway faces a decline in oil production from the mid-2020s unless major new oil discoveries are made.