In June, the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy offered 12 new production licences to 11 companies in the 24 th licensing round, of which 9 licenses were offered in the Barents Sea.
Two of the new licences are additional acreage to existing production licences, but the remaining are in geological provinces that should be classified as frontier.
“Our analyses show that the largest undiscovered resource potential on the Norwegian Continental Shelf is in the Barents Sea. We also believe that this is the area on the shelf most likely to deliver large discoveries,” Director Exploration Torgeir Stordal said in a comment.
Equinor and Aker BP got the most out of the round. Equinor got interest in 5 new licences (operator for 4), while Aker BP added 6 new licences (operator for 2). Spirit Energy also acquired a strong position by entering 3 new licences (operator for 1). Lundin was a little more modest than nusual in getting interest in only three more licences (operator for 1).
TGS as frontrunner
A look at the map of the 24th round awards generated by TGS quickly reveals that the company has been extremely successfull in providing multiclient 3D seismic programmes in the Barents Sea prior to the 24th round.
In fact, it turns out that TGS has aquired MC3D over all the the 9 new licenses.
This is a natural consequence of the strong position TGS has built in the Barents Sea through many years (GEO 03/2016: “Multiklient seismikk definerer ny oljeprovins“, GEO 03/2016: “La grunnlaget for oppdagelsen“).
TGS has made this possible by continuously studying the petroelum geology of the Barents Sea based on their own data. It turns out that their views on the prospectivity has been successful.
– There are several new areas to be evaluated and tested among the blocks like Eocene targets west of the Senja Ridge, but mostly I see well known Mesozoic targets and plays, , says Bent Kjølhamar, Director Project Development Europe & Russia at TGS.
New play models to be tested
There are several striking features related to the areas awarded.
Aker BP got a series of blocks in the northeastern segment of the Bjørnøya Basin (PL 964), due east of the Stappen High, where both seismic and CSEM anomalies, while Spirit Energy will take a close look at the transition zone from the Fingerdjupet Sub-basin and the Bjarmeland Platform (PL962). Many of the new licenses have CSEM as part of the work programs witch in general have strong correlation with commercial discoveries in this region.
The new Spirit Energy licence lies next to 7322/7-1 Scarecrow due to be drilled this summer, a play opener well that will test a Lower Cretaceous lead.
While Aker BP is committed to obtain 3D CSEM data, Spirit Energy has to conduct an EM opportunity study.
Equinor got a huge license (PL 966) in the Hoop Fault Complex area with numerous shallow Triassic and Jurassic targets. The authorities do not require CSEM in this licence. The PL 966 area have many big CSEM anomalies within the Triassic succession, but their correlation to hydrocarbon traps is debated. The authorities do not require CSEM in the 966 licence. That is different from a licence further west in which Lundin has to do an EM opportunity study in their PL 965 licence. A combined seismic and CSEM anomaly is here present over a Triassic target.