Fact box 4.3 Infrastructure development and increased profitability in the Barents Sea

The Barents Sea has experienced substantially lower exploration activity than the rest of the NCS, and is therefore significantly less explored than the North or Norwegian Seas.

With only two producing fields, it also lags behind the other regions for infrastructure development. The largest discovery so far is 7121/4-1 Snøhvit but, despite being proven as early as 1984, more than 20 years passed before it was developed and came on stream in 2007. Discovered in 2000, 7122/7-1 Goliat began production in 2016 as the Barents Sea’s second field centre.

Interest in this region has grown over the past 10 years, which has yielded several discoveries and improved the profitability of exploration in this period (figure 4.9). Big developments such as 7220/8-1 Johan Castberg (ongoing) and 7324/8-1 (Wisting) can provide the basis for new field developments and be important contributors to future revenues from the Barents Sea.

At the same time, a more developed infrastructure in this area might also open for profitable production from small discoveries like 7220/7-2 S (Skavl), 7324/7-2 (Hanssen), 7219/9-2 (Kayak) and 7324/6-1 (Sputnik). Development remains unclarified for several Barents Sea discoveries. Discoveries with substantial volumes but no specific development plans include 7319/12-1 (Pingvin) and 7324/3-1 (Intrepid Eagle). Both lie in relinquished acreage.

In order for more such discoveries to be realised, Barents Sea infrastructure must be further expanded. Studies to which the NPD has contributed conclude that sufficient resources are available in discoveries and fields for possible profitable development of more gas export capacity [10].

In addition to providing greater flexibility and improved commerciality for existing oil and gas discoveries, this could incentivise future exploration. That calls for coordination of fields and for development solutions which take care of both oil and gas resources.