Energy firm Equinor has made a new oil discovery at its Oseberg area in the Norwegian North Sea.

An oil reservoir has been identified which has estimated recoverable resources of 22 million barrels, with the potential to increase further.

The exploration extension well 30/6-H-9-T4 was drilled by the Askepott rig as part of Equinor’s Oseberg Vestflanken phase 2 project. It proved a 112m oil column in a segment that is claimed to have not been tested before. Oil was found in the Statfjord formation in southern parts of the Alpha structure on Oseberg.

The well will shortly be put on stream through the new unmanned and remote-operated H platform on the Oseberg field.

Equinor senior vice-president for the operations west cluster Gunnar Nakken said: “This discovery improves the Oseberg Vestflanken resource base. It can be put on stream with limited investments and adds significant value to the partnership.

“Discoveries as these underline the importance of near-field exploration. Our ambition is to maintain profitable production from the Norwegian continental shelf (NCS) for several decades. A major contribution will come from wells that are drilled at low cost and close to existing infrastructure.”

Equinor said it will consider the potential for water injection with its partners in order to boost recoverable reserves.

Equinor operates the Oseberg filed with a 49.3% interest. Petoro owns a 33.6% interest, while Total E&P Norge, ConocoPhillips Skandinavia hold 14.7% and 2.4% stakes respectively. The Oseberg field, which started production in 1988, features a main reservoir, Oseberg Main, and various minor reservoirs.

Equinor said oil production from the main reservoir has so far been prioritised and export of the large gas cap is currently being increased. Production from the first unmanned wellhead platform on the Norwegian continental shelf, Oseberg H, began in the autumn of 2018.

Oseberg was the third largest oil producer on the Norwegian continental shelf at the end of 2017, having produced nearly 2.9 billion barrels of oil.