Discovery With a Surprising Upside Is Norway’s Largest Since 2013

The Carmen gas discovery offshore Norway was far bigger than expected and a short tieback away from production.

Semisubmersible Deepsea Yantai.
The Carmen discovery was made by Odfjell’s semisubmersible Deepsea Yantai.

A discovery in the Norwegian North Sea east of the Troll Field surprised its partners by far exceeding their highest expectations.

The Carmen discovery announced Monday is expected to deliver from 120–230 million BOE, topping the 20 million–100 million BOE estimate made before the exploration well was drilled in the Troll-Gjøa area, according to DNO, a public company which holds a 30% stake.

Wellesley Petroleum, a private company holding 50%, is the operating partner. Equinor and Aker BP each hold 10%.

The estimate tripled the predrill expectation because “the hydrocarbon-water content was deeper than expected.”

The 175 million BOE midpoint on the recoverable resource estimate would make it the biggest find offshore Norway since 2013, according to the release, which did not name that field.

Based on a Norwegian government oil data site, Offshore Engineer said it was the Wisting discovery in the Barents Sea, made by OMV, holding 500 million BOE of producible oil. In late 2021, OMV sold its stake in the project to Sweden's Lundin Energy. Lundin Energy sold its oil and gas business to Norway's Aker BP in a deal announced in December 2021.

There is a plan to build a round, ice-resistant production platform for production by 2028, but final investment decision on the Wisting multibillion-dollar project has been postponed by Aker BP and Equinor until the end of 2026.

Carmen is smaller, but it has a far cheaper path to shore. It is a short, 10-km tieback away from the Troll Field—a giant gas field with extensive processing facilities built for production going back to 1983. The Carmen field is also near other recent gas and condensate discoveries.

In a presentation DNO said it is “one of the largest acreage holders in the Troll-Gjøa area, a current exploration hotspot given a high hit rate of medium-sized discoveries that are candidates for tieback to existing nearby infrastructure.”

DNO is in need of some local diversification. Most of the Norwegian operator’s production is now in Kurdistan, where the shutdown of the export pipeline reduced its first-quarter revenues by 20% and forced it to store 300,000 bbl of oil.

“Norway is the gift that keeps on giving,” said DNO’s Executive Chairman Bijan Mossavar-Rahmani.