Slowdown in Barents Sea petroleum

The Goliat platform was the first to produce oil in the Norwegian sector of the Barents Sea. (Thomas Nilsen/The Independent Barents Observer)

Norwegian Government offers only two new production licenses for the Barents Sea this year.

The hunger for Barents Sea oil is on decrease among petroleum companies. What a decade ago was a big hope for big oil has been followed by a row of disappointments as one drilling well after the other has proved to contain more gas than oil.

On Tuesday, the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy in Oslo offered 47 new production licenses on the Norwegian continental shelf where companies were offered ownership interests.

However, only two are in the Barents Sea, while 16 are in the Norwegian Sea and 29 are in the North Sea.

The Barents Sea is the northernmost oil drilling area in Europe, far inside the Arctic Circle.

Awards in the predefined Barents Sea areas for 2023 are the lowest in many years. 2019 was peak with 14 so-called Awards in Predefined Areas (APA) followed by 2020 (13), 2018 (8) and 2021 (3).

Norway’s oil production in the western part of the Barents Sea takes place at the Goliat field, while the nearby Johan Castberg field is planned for production start-up in 2024.

Although few production licenses, the Norwegians still maintain strong efforts to explore the northernmost waters. In 2021, 70 blocks in the Barents Sea were included in the licensing round for petroleum companies wanting to test-drill.

Related stories from around the North: 

Canada: Canada’s Northwest Territories needs user-friendly public registry for oil and gas, says MLA, CBC News

Russia: More Russian Arctic oil via Murmansk redirects to India, The Independent Barents Observer

United StatesCompanies announce investment in major Alaska oil project, Alaska Public Media

Thomas Nilsen, The Independent Barents Observer

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

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