A new oil discovery off Norway has a substantial upside, the government said


March 2 (UPI) — A new oil discovery made in the southern Norwegian waters of the Barents Sea could hold as much as 13 million barrels of oil, though the government said Thursday the region could hold even more.

Var Energi drilled a wildcat well — a well drilled in an area not previously known to contain hydrocarbons — at its Countach license in the southern waters of the Barents Sea. The company put the preliminary estimate of the size of the tested segment of the well at between 3 million and 13 million barrels.


Var Energi believes the broader Countach prospect holds at least 23 million barrels of oil equivalent, recoverable reserves.

Three of Var Energi’s successful wells for 2022 were drilled in the Barents Sea, including the Lupa discovery in December. The company estimated that find holds between 57 million and 132 million barrels of recoverable oil equivalent.

“Countach reinforces the company’s position as the leading exploration company on the Norwegian shelf,” Rune Oldervoll, the company’s executive vice president for exploration and production, said. “This discovery is yet another in a series of successful exploration wells in the Barents Sea in recent years, including Lupa — the largest discovery on the Norwegian shelf in 2022.”


The company as of Dec. 31 had a working interest in 45 fields, with 36 of those in production. The company ended last year with 673 million barrels of oil equivalent reserves in its portfolio.

The discovery was confirmed by the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate, the nation’s energy regulator. NPD said the potential reserves in other parts of the Countach prospect “could be comparable or larger” than the results from the wildcat well.

Var Energi, which holds a majority interest in the prospect alongside Norwegian energy major Equinor, could tie the find into existing infrastructure in the Barents Sea as a cost-cutting measure.

Norway, alongside the likes of the United States, is a main oil and gas supplier to the European economy, though production has been lower than NPD forecasts. Oil production in January was 3% below the government’s forecast, while gas production was 3.9% below the NPD’s expectations.