Sweden’s Lundin discovers new Barents oil and gas

By Thomas Nilsen, The Independent Barents Observer - November 22, 2016

Lundin Petroleum announced on Tuesday that it had found additional oil and gas reserves in Norway’s Arctic waters.

The Swedish oil company said the Neiden prospect in the Barents Sea holds between 25 and 60 million barrels of oil equivalents.

“The well encountered a gross 31 metres hydrocarbon column, with 21 metres of oil and 10 metres gas in the Permian target,” Lundin wrote in a press release.

The semi-submersible drilling rig "Leiv Eiriksson," picture taken in July 2009. (Ulrich Latzenhofer / CC via Wikimedia Commons)
The semi-submersible drilling rig “Leiv Eiriksson,” which recently drilled Lundin’s new Neiden prospect, is pictured here in July 2009. (Ulrich Latzenhofer / CC via Wikimedia Commons)

The discovery is good news for the Swedish oil company that already has announced drilling of at least four more exploration wells in the Barents Sea next year.

Arctic waters north of Norway are among the top strategic priorities for the Swedish oilmen.

Regional Manager of the Norwegian Oil and Gas Association, Geir Seljeseth, said the discovery is important.

“Once again, the Barents Sea delivers in which will provide growth and prosperity in the north. New discoveries triggers favourable conditions for Norway’s largest industry in the north,” Seljeseth said.

The Neiden prospect is located at 72° 34’ North, some 200 kilometers (or 125 miles) north of mainland Norway. The discovery is further north than the Goliat field, today’s northernmost offshore oil field in production anywhere in the circumpolar Arctic.

Swedish environmentalists are not at all pleased with Lundin’s Arctic drilling.

“Lundin’s continued exploration for oil and gas in the Arctic is completely out of line with simple climate math,” said Frode Pleym, Head of Greenpeace Sweden.

He argues that the fossil fuel industry has already pushed global climate to the brink of disaster.

“The outcome of the Paris Agreement was crystal clear with the world agreeing to pursue limits in average global warming to 1.5 degrees. Already discovered oil and gas will need to stay in the ground. There is no legitimate excuse for Lundin here; continued search for oil and gas is a deliberate atrocity towards those most vulnerable to climate change in the pursuit of profit,” Pleym told the Barents Observer.

“We need a speedy transition to renewable energy and that means that we must stop drilling for the last drops of oil from vulnerable areas. Lundin Oil should be concerned about their public image and ultimately stock value by continuing to be a company of the past,” Pleym said.

The Norwegian Petroleum Directorate is informed about the discovery and said in a statement that preliminary estimations of the size range between 3 and 7 million standard cubic meters of recoverable oil and between 1 and 2 billion standard cubic meters of recoverable gas. Seven million cubic metres of oil are equivalent to 60 million barrels, or 30 of the largest supertankers sailing world oceans. One supertanker carries 2 million barrels.

The well was drilled by the semi-submersible drilling rig “Leiv Eiriksson.” Water depth at the site is 387 meters (about 1,270 feet).