International Endowment Oil & Gas prospects for countries in Arctic region

By Lada Ponomareva, September 7, 2013

not only to hard-to-recover reserves, but also to difficult to access ones, which include arctic hydrocarbon pools.

The main part (approximately 94 percent of the total volume) of the initial total resources of the Russian Arctic offshore areas falls on the Western Arctic seas – Barents, Pechora and Kara seas (see Fig. 2). The Eastern arctic territory is mostly areas with non-discovered reserves, which at present are classified as possible. The largest sedimentary arctic basins are as follows: Vostochno-Barentsevsky, Yuzhno-Karsky, Laptevsky, Vostochno-Sibirsky and Chukotsky.

At present, licenses for the right to use subsoil resources in the Russian offshore Arctic have been granted to the state companies Gazprom and Rosneft. Whereas early in 2013, the program for development of the offshore Arctic of Russia provided for possible realization of exploratory operations by private companies, early in June of this year Vice prime-minister Arkady Dvorkovich and the RF Minprirody (Ministry of Natural Resources) decided to cancel the clause of the Continental Shelf Law, which allowed non-state oil and gas companies to perform operations on the arctic shelf; this will completely consolidate the position of Gazprom and Rosneft in the Arctic region as the only two Russian license holders. In the opinion of the EY experts, by 2020 Gazprom and Rosneft will own 32 and 41 licenses respectively for the water areas of arctic and far-eastern seas. The shelf of the Barents, Pechora and Okhotsk seas will become the main area of operations of Rosneft in the Arctic region (31 licenses), and Gazprom will concentrate its efforts on realization of the projects in the Kara Sea (21 licenses).


Norway’s operations in the Arctic region include oil and gas production on the continental shelf of the North, Norwegian and Barents seas. In 1981, Statoil discovered a large gas field Snøhvit in the Norwegian sector of the Arctic shelf in the Barents Sea, and this field became the resource base for the LNG plant in Hammerfest. The Snøhvit field supplies daily about 48 thousands of BOE to the plant, being the only LNG facility north of the Arctic Circle. Fields Skrugard and Havis (also located in the Barents Sea) became large discoveries in Norway. Statoil lays special hopes on the first field in respect of its resource potential, which could be used for the second stage of the LNG plant. As oil and gas reserves in the North and Norwegian seas are rapidly depleting, further development of projects in the Barents Sea and in the Arctic region on the whole is a priority area for the Norwegian oil and gas sector, especially taking into consideration the fact that the resource-based economy of the country is export-oriented.

It is planned to drill nine exploratory wells in the Norwegian sector of the northern part of the Barents Sea in 2013. As the industry experts stress, they will be the northernmost wells ever drilled in Norway. By 2020, Statoil plans to almost triple the current production on the continental shelf, which will amount to 2.5 million barrels