Petoro - a driving force on the Norwegian continental shelf

SDFI and Petoro annual report 2013

Directors’ report 2013

Follow-up of the SDFI portfolio

Output from a few large oil fields in a mature phase dominates liquids production in the SDFI portfolio. Remaining reserves are substantial, but realising these volumes assumes continuous drilling of production wells. However, Petoro sees that the pace of drilling and the number of new wells have declined compared with earlier years – from three per drilling rig to less than half. In addition, the remaining number of necessary wells appears to have been underestimated.
This increases the risk that the producing life of mature fields will be reduced, which will limit the number of remaining profitable drilling targets. More wells per year can be achieved through increased drilling efficiency from existing facilities, greater capacity in the form of new installations (such as wellhead platforms) or more subsea wells. Reduced uncertainty through detailed mapping of the remaining resource potential and good solutions for field development are necessary for realising reserves and resources. Work to increase the pace of drilling has and will continue to characterise Petoro’s commitment to mature fields.

Record investment characterised 2013. Activity increased on the Norwegian continental shelf (NCS), mainly because of more new drilling rigs and a larger number of wells as well as major development projects. This is a result of business opportunities matured to the point of decision, and will generate greater future revenues. But part of this investment growth also reflects high price rises and reduced productivity. The growth in costs challenges the profitability of new projects and must be tackled through cost cuts/productivity improvements.
One area where Petoro sees a need for improvement is drilling of production wells. The drilling rate – the number of new wells per year – must be increased. Several measures are available to achieve this, and Petoro has made a strong commitment in recent years to securing more mobile drilling rigs for the NCS. That has contributed to a doubling of rig-years from mobile units over the past two years. The number of production wells completed on SDFI fields in 2013 was up by 25 from the year before. Mobile units accounted for 23 of this increased number, primarily on Ekofisk, Troll and the new fast-track developments.
No rise in the drilling pace is seen from fixed installations on mature fields, despite initiatives to boost productivity. Petoro will increase its future commitment in this area. On some of the mature oil fields, the company has challenged the operator and partners to assess wellhead platforms as another measure to speed up the pace of drilling.
Together with Statoil, Petoro has also worked for licences which have a long-term need to drill many wells to consider owning mobile rigs themselves. The partners in Gullfaks and Oseberg resolved in 2013 to order such units for their fields. These decisions represent an important milestone in securing the big remaining assets in these mature fields.
Special attention was devoted during the past year to Snorre, which has the largest remaining oil reserves among producing oil fields on the NCS after Ekofisk. The concept for the Snorre 2040 project was chosen in November 2013, with the partners resolving to continue with Petoro’s preferred solution of a platform which will help to realise the 100 remaining identified drilling targets. According to Petoro’s calculations, this will yield 240 million barrels of extra crude – substantially more than the oil in the Goliat field soon to come on stream in the Barents Sea. A new platform for Snorre 2040 represents a demanding decision.
Other mature fields given priority by Petoro in 2013 include the big Heidrun and Oseberg oil producers. As with Snorre, the main effort has related to identifying new drilling targets in order to secure a better picture of the total remaining need for wells and thereby create greater confidence in the reserve base. This is fundamental for the discussion of future development.
Petoro’s commitment on Heidrun since 2010 has convinced the partnership to carry out detailed work to realise the reserve potential. The company has played a key role in the partnership’s establishment of a project intended to produce a long-term and coherent plan for continued development of the field. Petoro’s commitment has related to changes in work processes for reservoir management, identification of new well targets and measures to boost the pace of drilling. The licence is due to decide in June 2014 whether the basis exists for starting conceptual studies. Petoro will conduct its own studies to support this process.
The commitment on Johan Sverdrup in 2013 related to promoting a coherent development of the field up to a choice of concept in February 2014. This work includes independent analyses of the sub-surface. Petoro’s field development commitment has concentrated particularly on solutions which maximise long-term value creation, including a single field centre, provision for water and gas injection, many well slots, an integrated drilling facility, enhanced oil recovery (EOR) and the provision of spare space for future phases. This is in line with the company’s strategy of shaping field development for future opportunities and manifesting the potential for EOR.
Petoro has received a supplementary appropriation from its owner related to unitisation negotiations for the Johan Sverdrup discovery between PLs 265, 501 and 502. Work on this was pursued in 2013 and will continue in the direction of negotiations in 2014.

Two plans for development and operation (PDO) were approved in the SDFI portfolio in 2013, covering Oseberg Delta 2 and Fram H North respectively. The first of these is one of Statoil’s fast-track projects, which aim to reduce the time from discovery to production and the cost of small developments close to existing fields. Three of these fast-track projects where Petoro is a licensee – Skuld/Norne, Stjerne/Oseberg and Vigdis North-East/Tordis/Vigdis – came on stream during 2013. Another five are due to begin production in coming years.