Norwegian oil and gas company Aker BP is planning to undertake exploration drilling of up to 15 oil and gas wells, including in the Arctic Barents Sea, in the next year, reported Reuters, citing company CEO Karl Johnny Hersvik.

“Our plan is to drill somewhere in the range of 12 to 15 wells, and I’m assuming we will have the same level going forward,” Hersvik said at an energy conference.

Aker BP also plans to undertake drilling activity on at least one well near the Arctic Wisting discovery, following the acquisition of Sweden’s Lundin Energy oil business.

Hersvik said earlier that the firm was not planning to drill in the Barents Sea, citing poor exploration results.

Despite this, the firm is now reassessing its position in the Barents Sea, owing to the insights from Lundin.

Hersvik anticipates the drilling of approximately 50 exploration wells by the oil firms on the Norwegian continental shelf next year.

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The company also announced plans to invest Nkr150bn ($15bn) over the next five to six years to expand development projects on the Norwegian continental shelf.

In a press statement, Aker BP said: “The projects operated by Aker BP alone will contribute to 145,000 man-years in Norway and Nkr170bn in expected tax payments to the Norwegian State.”

Aker BP CEO Karl Johnny Hersvik said: “The package of measures adopted by a broad majority in the Norwegian Parliament [Stortinget] two years ago has been a fantastic success for both the supplier industry and the society in general.”

The Norwegian firm is working on 15 development projects on the Norwegian continental shelf, following the merger with Lundin Energy.

By developing projects and undertaking several improved recovery and efficiency measures, Aker BP expects to boost its production capacity to approximately 525,000 barrels per day in 2028, from the current 400,000 barrels per day.