Another dry well in the Barents Sea for oil company Lundin

The rig “Leiv Eriksson” has completed the Hurri prospect in the Barents Sea. (Courtesy Lundin Petroleum)

No lucky start of the new year for oil trio Lundin Petroleum, Aker BP and DEA Norge. Drilling of the Hurri exploration well in the Barents Sea, northwest of Hammerfest, gave no results, license operator Lundin announced on Wednesday.

«The well was dry,» a short statement reads.

«Extensive data acquisition and sampling were carried out,» Lundin ensures. The Swedish oil company’s Norwegian subsidiary is operator of the license, in partnership with Aker BP and DEA Norge.

The Hurri exploration well is located south of Statoil’s up-coming Johan Castberg field, estimated to hold 450 – 650 million barrels of oil equivalents. In December, Statoil announced a €5 billion investment plan on the development of Johan Castberg, Norway’s northernmost oil discovery in the Barents Sea.

2017, however, turned out to be a big disappointment for the oil industry on hungry-hunt for new offshore Arctic findings.

All Statoil’s five prospects drilled in the Barents Sea failed to prove oil. ENI’s Goliat platform, the only operating oil-production north of mainland Norway, was shut down for longer periods during the year due to safety concerns. And Lundin, who starts 2018 by announcing a dry-well, had to close the drilling calendar 2017 with zero findings.

Less interest

Fewer findings than expected, and stable low oil price, didn’t trigger increased interest among oil companies to boost Arctic exploration. In December, the Norwegian Ministry of Petroleum and Energy released its list of bidders for the next 24th license round, showing the number of companies that want to drill in new Barents Sea acreage is now dwindling.

While 26 companies submitted bids for the 57 blocks in the 23rd round, only 11 companies want to take part in the 24th round.

Related stories from around the North:

Canada: Arctic nickel, not oil, could soon power the world’s cars, Blog by Mia Bennett, Cryopolitics

Finland: U.S. pullout from Paris climate pact condemned by Finnish leaders, Yle News

Germany: Cheap oil from the Arctic? Fake news, says climate economist Kemfert, blog by Irene Quaile, Deutsche Welle

Norway: Statoil greenlights northernmost drilling project in Arctic Norway, The Independent Barents Observer

Russia: Novatek’s LNG project now operational in Arctic Russia, The Independent Barents Observer

Sweden: Sweden’s climate minister : U.S. withdrawal from Paris sends a bad signal, Radio Sweden

United States: Big questions emerge over $43 billion gas-export deal between Alaska and China, Alaska Dispatch News

Thomas Nilsen, The Independent Barents Observer

For more news from the Barents region visit The Independent Barents Observer.

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