Norwegian Ministry of Petroleum and Energy (MPE) has extended the production licences in the Greater Ekofisk Area – located in the southern part of the North Sea – which have been in operation for over five decades. The operator, ConocoPhillips Skandinavia, has seen this as a green light to wrap up and submit its plans for another development project in this area.

ConocoPhillips Skandinavia is the operator for the Greater Ekofisk Area with an ownership interest of 35,11 per cent, while its license partners are TotalEnergies EP Norge with 39,90 per cent, Vår Energi with 12,39 per cent, Equinor Energy with 7,60 per cent and Petoro with the remaining 5 per cent interest.

ConocoPhillips informed on Tuesday that the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy has extended the production licenses in the Greater Ekofisk Area from 2028 to 2048. The company explained that a license extension provides long-term operations and resource management aligned with its long-term perspective on the Norwegian continental shelf.

Steinar Våge, President of ConocoPhillips Europe, Middle East and North Africa, remarked: “We are proud of our long-standing history in Norway, and we are pleased with the decision. Extended licenses in the Greater Ekofisk Area will contribute to sustainable and long-term investments, which again provides continued value creation, jobs and ripple effects. In addition, it ensures future energy supply security from the oil and gas province in the southwestern part of the North Sea.”

The existing production licenses 018, 018 B and 275 in the Greater Ekofisk Area will now remain operational through 2048 thanks to this extension. Therefore, this provides a potential for extending Ekofisk’s lifetime to nearly 80 years. Located 300 kilometres southwest of Stavanger in the southern part of the North Sea, the Greater Ekofisk Area consists of three producing fields: Ekofisk, Eldfisk and Embla. The production from these fields is transported via the Ekofisk Complex to the receiving terminals in Emden, Germany (gas) and Teesside, UK (oil).

Ekofisk complex; Source: ConocoPhillips
Ekofisk complex; Source: ConocoPhillips

The Ekofisk Complex comprises all installations which are connected with bridges on the central Ekofisk field and it serves as a hub for the production from the Ekofisk field itself, and from the other fields in the Greater Ekofisk Area.

According to ConocoPhillips, Ekofisk was Norway’s first producing field and is also one of the largest on the Norwegian continental shelf. It was discovered in 1969, and the initial plan for development and operation (PDO) was approved in 1972. Based on the company’s records, test production was initiated in 1971 and ordinary production started in 1972.

Jan-Arne Johansen, ConocoPhillips General Manager of Operated Assets Europe, commented: “After more than 50 years of activities, we extend our thanks to the authorities’ and governments’ trust in our operations, including the sound collaboration with our license partners. This milestone is a recognition of our work and long-term plans for continued development, aligned with the company’s vision first to come, last to leave.”

ConocoPhillips further explained that the government’s latest lifetime extension acknowledges the significant remaining potential for resource development and new projects in the Greater Ekofisk Area. In addition, the company describes the area as an important hub for processing and transport of resources from many other fields in the North Sea.

“We continue to build on our HSE culture and ability to manage resources with new knowledge and technology, and we are finalizing the plan for development and operation of the Eldfisk North Project, expected to be submitted shortly. An extension of the production licenses is a premise for seeking approval for the project,” added Johansen.

ConocoPhillips states that Eldfisk –  located in block 2/7, about 16 kilometres south of Ekofisk, not far from the UK and Danish shelves – is the second largest of three producing fields in the Greater Ekofisk Area and one of the largest on the Norwegian continental shelf.

When it comes to ConocoPhillips’ recent activities elsewhere, it is worth noting that the firm completed the sale of its oil and gas assets in Indonesia for $1.36 billion last month.

Following a review of its asset portfolio, the company made a decision to sell these assets to pursue energy transition opportunities in a bid to amass assets with lower GHG intensity, such as LNG.

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