Norway wants oil companies to look into using specialized technology to pump more crude and natural gas, the country's petroleum regulator said June 15, potentially producing billions of extra barrels as well as tax revenues.
Enhanced oil recovery (EOR), such as injection of polymers or carbon dioxide into reservoirs, could help to produce an additional 320 to 860 million cubic metres (of oil equivalents from the 27 largest fields offshore Norway, industry regulator NPD said.
"We will try to use all the instruments we have to convince the companies to test (EOR) and to do pilot projects," Ingrid Soelvberg, the agency's director for development and operations, told Reuters.
She said companies would be obliged to use the EOR process if there were significant profits at stake. "We as a regulator can include conditions also for the use of EOR when approving development plans."
Norway's crude oil production has halved from a peak of 181 million cubic metres in 2000 to 94 million cubic metres in 2016.
The regulator has already asked the partners in the giant Johan Sverdrup field offshore Norway to carry out a pilot project that would inject water mixed with polymers to aid recovery when the field starts production in 2019.
"Traditionally EOR was regarded as tail production technology, but we think that the earlier the better, also in this particular case (of Johan Sverdrup)," NPD assistant director Arvid Oesthus said.
The partners in the field are Statoil, Lundin, Aker BP, Petoro and Maersk Oil, a unit of A.P. Moller-Maersk.
Statoil was not immediately available to comment on the cost impact for production from Johan Sverdrup, but the company has previously said that the break-even costs for the first development phase were below $25 a barrel.