May 22, 2024

Equinor wants to revive expensive oil reserves in Norway and Canada

Equinor has signed a long-term deal with engineering firms to reduce the cost of developing two previously postponed offshore oil fields, the Norwegian energy group said on Thursday.

The agreement with the Subsea Integration Alliance, a group of oilfield service providers that includes Subsea7 and OneSubsea, will help renew plans to develop Norway's Wisting field and Canada's Bay du Nord.

“Selecting a provider at this early stage is a new way to approach project development,” said Equinor project development manager Trond Bokn in a joint statement with Subsea7.

“We look forward to developing concepts together in a process of joint efforts and absolute credibility to make these challenging projects feasible,” he added.

Wisting and Bay du Nord were both discovered more than a decade ago and each is believed to contain about 500 million barrels of oil, Equinor said.

Both projects face opposition from environmentalists, who say the proposed extraction endangers delicate ecosystems and that the use of oil could contribute to climate change.

Equinor announced in 2021 that it would invest $8.8 billion to develop the Arctic Westing discovery, which would become the world's northernmost oil field, but postponed the plan to next year as cost projections rose.

The Bay du Nord project in Flemish Pass off the coast of Newfoundland was backed by the Canadian government, but Equinor last year postponed it for three years, citing rising costs.

However, the Norwegian operator announced plans for further drilling in the Bay du Nord late last year, expressing hopes of developing the field.

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Equinor holds a 60% stake in the Canadian discovery, while BP holds a 40% stake.

Equinor and Aker BP each own 35% of Wisting, Norway's Petoro 20% and Japan's Inpex Idemitsu 10%. (Reporting by Terje Solsvik; Editing by Emilia Sithol-Madaris)