Posts Tagged ‘NPD’

Symbolic gesture or troubling precedent?

OSLO, Nov 29 (Reuters) – Norway will not issue licences for energy companies to explore for oil and gas in frontier areas during the life of the current parliament, which ends in 2025, its oil and energy minister told Reuters on Tuesday.

“SV (Socialist Left Party) has had this as a demand for this year and we went along with that. And have accepted that this can be held off for this parliamentary period,” (per Minister of Petroleum and Energy Minister Terje Aasland).

Aasland said there was “no drama” in the decision as authorities still issue licences to oil companies in a parallel licensing around called the APA round, in so-called mature areas that are already open to oil companies.


Meanwhile NPD reports a dry hole 17 km north of the Heidrun field in the Norwegian Sea.

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Johan Sverdrup phase 2, Equinor

The combination of high production of oil and gas from a total of 94 fields, significant demand and high commodity prices led to a historically high level on the State’s revenues from petroleum.

Production in 2021 came to 102 million standard cubic metres of oil (642 million barrels) and 113 billion standard cubic metres of gas. This corresponds to about four million barrels of oil equivalent per day, a minor increase from the previous year.


Norway wisely eased the petroleum tax burden during the pandemic with favorable results.

The temporary change in the petroleum tax has most likely led to an increase in project activity. The projects would most likely have been carried out even without the tax package, but some of them would have been postponed.


An aspect of Norwegian offshore policy that is confusing to this outside observer is the emphasis on transmitting electric power from shore to offshore platforms (see quote below). In most cases, offshore platforms produce sufficient gas to support their power demands. Should platforms be powered from shore, gas that is not used for platform operations would presumably be marketed for consumption elsewhere or reinjected. If the gas is marketed and consumed elsewhere, there is essentially no net (global) CO2 emissions reduction benefit. Gas that is reinjected is wasted unless there is an enhanced oil recovery benefit. So it would seem that importing electric power from shore would only make sense if the net reduction in offshore gas consumption increased ultimate oil production (which could be viewed as undesirable if you take carbon management to the extreme).

While production remains high, CO2 emissions are dropping. The most important reason for this is the use of power from shore. The objective is to cut emissions in half by 2030 compared with the level in 2005.


In a separate article, NPD notes that power from shore increases the cost of platform operations and will also lead to an increase in electricity prices in Norway. Given these considerations, the very small net global reduction in CO2 emissions seems costly.

Platform electrification no doubt helps Norway achieve domestic emission reduction commitments. However, from a global perspective, how important is it for a minor CO2 emitter like Norway to achieve further reductions? Also, isn’t it somewhat contradictory for a major oil and gas exporter to take such extreme measures to reduce the emissions associated with the production of these resources?

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Deb Haaland, U.S. Secretary of the Interior
Deb Haaland, US Secretary of the Interior
Haaland Leeds
Erling Braut Haaland

As a result of her mother’s heritage, Deb Haaland is the first Native American to serve as a US cabinet secretary. However, her father, a decorated Marine Corps officer was a Norwegian American. She thus has the same surname as Erling Braut Haaland, the star striker for Norway and BVB Dortmund in the German Bundesliga.

Although most Americans cannot name the Secretary of the Interior (James Watt was an exception thanks to his attempt to ban the Beach Boys from the 4th of July concert in Washington😃), Deb Haaland is probably slightly better known in the US than Erling Haaland. However, thanks to the popularity of football/fussball/futbol/soccer, Erling is much better known internationally.

What does this have to do with offshore energy? Well Norway, which just announced record oil and gas revenues, has managed to sustain leasing, exploration, and production throughout the pandemic without compromising safety and environmental objectives. They also wisely eased the petroleum tax burden during the pandemic with favorable results.

The temporary change in the petroleum tax has most likely led to an increase in project activity. The projects would most likely have been carried out even without the tax package, but some of them would have been postponed.


Regardless of her heritage and any connections she might have with Norway, this would be a good time for Secretary Haaland to put the MOU between the Dept. of the Interior and the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy (Norway) to good use by learning more about resource management on the Norwegian continental shelf and discussing how to best sustain US offshore production.

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Carbon capture and storage

Several actors have approached the ministry with a desire to be allocated two specific areas for storage of CO 2 . One area in the North Sea and one in the Barents Sea were therefore announced on 10 September in accordance with the storage regulations.

By the application deadline of 9 December, the ministry had received applications from five companies. The Ministry will process the received applications and allocate area in accordance with the storage regulations during the first half of 2022.

Ministry of Petroleum and Energy, Norway

Contrast the situation in Norway with Exxon’s apparent attempt to acquire 94 Gulf of Mexico leases at Oil and Gas Lease Sale 257 solely for CCS purposes. BOEM’s Notice of Sale made no mention of CCS, and there had been no environmental or economic assessment of CCS activity.

And how much will the public pay for grand CCS ventures that (although interim measures) will take years to initiate, add new safety and environmental risks, and may never achieve their objectives? The public burden will no doubt include direct subsidies, tax credits, increased petrochemical prices, and the erosion of purchasing power associated with the resulting inflation pressures.

More on Sale 257 and the CCS bidding.

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Here is the link. I took the liberty of copying this response from the Petroleum Safety Authority Norway because it succinctly captures Charles’ collaborative spirit and so effectively characterizes his career in the offshore energy world.

We are very sorry to hear of Charles death. The international petroleum industry, and particularly the Petroleum Safety Authority of Norway are in great debt to him for his important work in establishing arenas for interactions and cooperation between regulators. Particularly the international research and development network ICRARD, but also the international regulators forum (IRF). He was a master of building such professional networks, and he always made sure that the learnings were shared with other regulators.
He has for many years been regarded as a friend to the Petroleum Safety Authority Norway, previously the safety division of the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate. I got to know him as a caring and helping person when I started working for the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate. I had the pleasure to meet with him several times during OMAE conferences where he was a key member of the organizing team and regular contributor to the conference.
Øyvind Tuntland and I also had the pleasure to get to know his wife, Elaine. Øyvind remembers kindly staying with Charles and Elaine at their home.
We want to express our deepest condolences to Elaine and the family for their loss. We will miss him deeply as a friend, mentor and a knowledgeable colleague.

Gerhard Ersdal on behalf of the Petroleum Safety Authority Norway, 13 December 2021.

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In light of energy security and price considerations, rebounding oil demand, uncertainty about the long-term viability of non-conventional onshore production, and the elimination of most other offshore options, sustaining deepwater GoM production should be a high-priority U.S. policy objective. The deepwater GoM also offers significant environmental advantages in that approximately 1.6 million BOPD are produced from only 58 widely dispersed surface facilities that are well maintained, closely monitored and inspected, and distant from shore. Another advantage of US deepwater production is the low carbon intensity relative to other sources of petroleum (more on this in a later post).

EIA (Chart 1) projects relatively stable GoM production over the next 2 years. Platt’s (Chart 2) is forecasting a slight decline in 2021 production primarily because of COVID-related delays in the initiation of production at Shell’s VIto and PowerNap and BP’s Mad Dog 2 and Thunder Horse South 2 facilities. Based on the latest available EIA data, current stabilized GoM oil production appears to be in the 1.7-1.8 million BOPD range.

Going forward, the concern is the high rate of reserve depletion and the absence of drilling activity needed to replace reserves. Schlumberger data through 2016 (Chart 3) show depletion rates rising to above 20%, the highest (by far) of the offshore regions analyzed. I was unable to find more recent data, but unless this trend line has made a sharp turn, production declines are likely in the next 3-5 years. Further, drilling trends do not suggest the likelihood of significant reserve growth. Data from BSEE’s Borehole File (Chart 4) indicate deepwater well start activity that is comparable to the moratorium years of 2010 and 2011. Even more concerning is the absence of exploratory drilling (chart 5) and the very few operating companies that are drilling deepwater wells. Only five operators have spudded deepwater exploratory wells in 2021 YTD. One US supermajor hasn’t started a well since 2019, and another US major has essentially exited the Gulf.

Deepwater production trends are not easily reversed, so dialogue is urgently needed to assess the implications of declines in drilling, reserves, and industry interest. As the resource manager on behalf of the public, BOEM is the logical choice for initiating these discussions. BOEM’s Norwegian equivalent, the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate (NPD) demonstrates the importance of pro-active land management. The NPD has done an outstanding job of sustaining exploration activity and production consistent with Norwegian safety and environmental values, which are among the highest in the world. On their website, NPD provides ongoing updates on exploration, production, and reserve depletion parameters. Their competency and commitment to sustaining production on the Norwegian shelf is underscored in this news release, an excerpt from which is pasted below:

Exploration is of great importance for the long-term value creation on the shelf. The supply of oil and gas resources from new discoveries, as we have seen so far this year, is necessary so that activity in the petroleum industry does not fall sharply after 2030. Without new discoveries, production can fall by more than 70 percent in 2040 compared to 2020, says Torgeir Stordal, director of Technology and coexistence in the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate.

NPD, July 21, 2021
monthly crude oil production from U.S. federal gulf of Mexico
Chart 1, EIA GoM Production Forecast
Chart 2


Chart 3: Depletion calculated as annual production divided by proved-developed reserves at end of same year

Chart 4: Data from BSEE Borehole File; 2021 Data as of 7/23
Chart 5: Data from BSEE Borehole File; 2021 Data as of 7/23

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