Norwegian oil and gas company Vår Energi has announced the discovery of oil in the Balder area of the central North Sea.  

The find, made in production licence 956, is estimated to contain recoverable resources of between 13 and 23mboe and is considered a potential commercial candidate for development. 

The discovery was made through the drilling of the Ringhorne North exploration well and two additional side-track/appraisal wells.  

Vår Energi, as the operator, holds a 50% stake in the licence. Its partners are Aker BP (20%), Harbour Energy Norge (15%) and Sval Energi (15%). 

The drilling operations were conducted using the Odfjell Drilling-managed Deepsea Yantai semi-submersible rig, located 8km north of the Vår Energi-operated Ringhorne field and approximately 200km north-west of Stavanger. 

Vår Energi has highlighted the Ringhorne North discovery as a continuation of its successful exploration track record.  

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Over the past five years, the company claims to have achieved a discovery rate of more than 50%, with post-tax costs of less than $1 per barrel. 

The new discovery is expected to support Vår Energi’s strategy for the Balder area, aiming to establish it as a long-term production hub in the North Sea.  

The Ringhorne North find not only unlocks new resources but also de-risks additional prospects in the vicinity and may offer development synergies with other nearby discoveries such as King-Prince and Evra-Iving, the energy company noted. 

Vår Energi EVP of exploration & production Rune Oldervoll said: “Our exploration portfolio is the basis to unlock and create future value. We are among the largest licence holders on the NCS [Norwegian Continental Shelf] with roughly 200 licences. Our commitment to explore for further resources remains firm. 

“The reserves and resource base in the Balder area has been steadily growing for decades and we are convinced it will continue to do so in decades to come. We are positioned to produce high-value, low-emission barrels for a long time – and the latest Ringhorne North discovery is underpinning our long-term production targets.” 

Earlier in the year, Vår Energi expanded its presence on the NCS by securing 16 new production licences in the 2023 Awards in Predefined Areas.  

These licences, which include four as operator, span the North Sea, the Norwegian Sea and the Barents Sea, with many located near existing infrastructure, aligning with the company’s hub strategy.