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Introduction european oil geography.

  1. Norway
    1. History
    2. Oil fields
    3. Statoil
    4. Production and export
    5. Transport and refining
    6. Economy
  2. United Kingdom
    1. Digits
    2. Oil fields
    3. Production and consumption
    4. BP
    5. Transport
    6. Refining
    7. Falkland Islands conflict



Norway holds 5.32 billion oil barrels of proved reserves in 2012, i.e. the first European reserve. All its reserves are located offshore : North Sea, Norway Sea and Barents Sea, this latter might hold one third the not discovered world reserves.

oil norway north sea norwegian sea barents sea mer du nord mer de norvege mer de barents petrole norvege

The prospection started in 1966. In 1969, the first deposit was discovered : Ekofisk. Since 1982, the production increased highly up to 2001 reaching the record of 3.4 million barrels a day. Then, a rapid but controlled drop took place.As the main deposits were ancient and in strong depletion, the government decided to reduce its production, waiting for new discoveries, so that this is more durable. In 2012, it amounts to 2 million barrels a day.

Third world exporter for a long time, the country dropped to the fifth rank in 2006, then to the 13th rank in 2011.

Oil fields:

Statfjord: it is the greatest oil deposit in the North Sea. It was discovered in 1974 by ExxonMobil in Tampen region. It entered into production in 1979. It belongs at 85 % to the Norwegian government and at 15 % to the English government. In 1987, it produced 850 000 barrels of crude oil : that was the greatest European deposit (outside Russia). It contains 5.22 billion barrels of crude. Operated by Statoil, it only produces today one tenth its 1987 production peak.

Ekofisk: the first Norwegian and North Sea deposit to be operated. It was discovered in 1969 in a chalky reservoir (this is very rare) at the south peak of Norwegian territorial waters, by 3 000 meters under the sea level, it holds 3.3 billion oil barrels. In 1980, it produced 427 500 barrels of crude. However, two third of it have already extracted. A water injection extended the deposit duration up to 2050. The deposit still produces 127 000 barrels a day in 2012. Operated by ConocoPhillips, which holds 35.1 % shares in the deposit, it is also held by Total (France, 39.9 %), ENI (Italy, 12.4 %), Statoil (Norway, 7.6 %) and Petoro (Norway, 5 %). Next to Ekofisk, there are Eldfisk, Embla and Tor fields. The oil is dispatched via Norpipe pipeline, 350 kilometers long, to Teesside (England).

ekofisk oil field norway norvege champs petrole

Heidrun: discovered in 1985 in Haltenbanken in Norwegian Sea, it entered into production in 1995 and its production amounted to 165 000 barrels a day in 2004. In 2006, it only produced 140 000 barrels. Its crude has a naphthene base and a density equal to 25° API and contains 0.52 % sulphur. It is held by Statoil (operator, 13.3 %), Petoro (57.4 %), ConocoPhillips (USA, 24.1 %) ENI (5.2 %). The crude is dispatched to Mongstad (Norway) and to Tetney (United Kingdom).

Oseberg: it entered into production in 1988. The deposit holds 2.3 billion barrels. The production reaches a peak of 500 000 barrels a day from 1992 till 1998, date on which a rapid decline started, to reach under 100 000 barrels a day today.

oseberg oil field norway

Gullfaks: discovered in 1978 in Tampen region in the north of North Sea. The deposit holds 2.3 billion barrels. The production started in 1986. It reaches 500 000 barrels a day in 1994. Today, its production amounts to 300 000 barrels a day.

There are a lot of other deposits such as Grane (166 000 barrels a day), Troll (118 000 barrels a day), Draugen, Huldra, Alvheim, Visund, Snorre, Goliat (100 000 barrels a day in 2013), Edvard Grieg (100 000 barrels a day in 2015), Draupne (52 000 barrels a day in 2016), and so on.

norway oil fields champs petroliers norvege petrole

Johan Sverdrup deposit was the most important oil discovery in the world in 2011. It holds between 1.7 and 3.3 billion barrels of recoverable crude. It is located 140 kilometers west Stavanger, the Norwegian oil capital city, in North Sea. It should produce between 120 000 and 200 000 barrels a day in 2018 and become the greatest oil field in the country, representing half the State production up to 2040.

Another important discovery in 2012 was that of Skrugard and Havis deposit, located 200 kilometers away from the coasts, holding 500 million barrels of recoverable crude. Statoil intends to start to produce up to 2018.


Statoil, Norwegian State Company (held up to 67 % by the State), created in 1972, is quoted at Oslo and New York Stock Exchange.

statoil logo

It controls 80 % the Norwegian production and holds equity in over 30 countries throughout the world. The other Oil state Company, Petoro, is in charge of the commercial aspect and the financial interests of the government, issued from hydrocarbon mining.

Production and export:

Norway is the greatest European producer. It produced 1 752 240 million barrels of crude a day in 2011 with a consumption of 255 000 barrels a day.

norway oil production petrole norvege

norway oil production petrole norvege consumption consommation

Norway exported 1.45 million barrels of crude a day in 2011: 90 % towards OECD countries. The most important Norwegian crude exporters are United Kingdom (52 %), Netherlands (18 %), the United States (10 %), France (8 %) and Germany (5 %).

Transport and refining:

Norway has a transport capacity amounting to 2.2 million barrels a day and a refining capacity of 319 000 barrels a day in 2012.


Hydrocarbon production represents one third of the Norwegian State income.

The state re-invests the crude benefit via Norway sovereign funds, the greatest sovereign funds in the world, holding some 560 billion dollars in 2011.

United Kingdom


United kingdom is the second greatest European oil producer, almost ex aequo with Norway.

The country was a crude net exporter from 1981 to 2005. Its deposits, as well as those from Norway located in North Sea, are mature. Its crude is light (30° to 40° API) with a low sulphur content. Brent is used as a reference index for the European market. A big part of the crude is traded at London Stock Exchange.

In 2011, the country holds 2.86 billion crude barrels of proved reserves. It produces 1.03 million barrels a day and consumes 1.6 of it.

united kingdom oil production consumption royaume uni consommation production petrole

Eighth oil world producer in 1999, the United Kingdom has the fourteenth rank in 2011.

Oil fields:

Forties: It was the first field discovered in the British waters of North Sea, 190 kilometers away east Aberdeen, In 1970. It is also the greatest field with 5 billion barrels, 2.5 billion of which is recoverable oil. It is today strongly depleting and has been operated by Apache since 2003.

Brent: discovered in 1971 offshore Aberdeen, its mining started in 1976. Its name is the abbreviation of Broom, Rannock, Etive, Ness and Tarbert, main oil formations in North Sea. The word Brent means light crude issued from a mixture of 19 oil fields located in North Sea. This is used as an international index for oil quotation in the European zone. Its price determines that of 60 % of crude extracted in the world.

brent oil field champs petrole grande bretagne united kingdom

Piper: discovered in 1973, it is located 190 kilometers away from Aberdeen and holds one billion barrels of reserves. Its production peak was reached in 1976, by 250 000 barrels a day. It is operated by Oxy (Occidental Petroleum, USA). It is strongly depleting.

Buzzard: located 100 kilometers away from Aberdeen, it was discovered in 2001. It holds 500 million barrels. This was the greatest deposit discovered since 1990. The quality of the crude amounts to 32° API and it contains 1.4 % sulphur. The production started in 2007 and produces 180 000 barrels a day. It is operated by Nexen (Canada).

united kingdom buzzard oil field champs petrole

Clair: located 75 kilometers west Shetlands, it was discovered in 1977 and its production started in 2005. It holds 1.75 billion oil barrels, 250 million of which are recoverable oil. It now produces 60 000 oil barrels a day. With Schiehallion and Foinaven, they build the so-called zone West of Shetlands.

Eastern Trough Area Project (ETAP): a combination of nine fields located in the center of North Sea. Six are operated by BP (Marnock, Mungo, Monan, Machar, Mirren and Madoes) and three by Royal Dutch Shell (Heron, Egret and Skua). ETAP holds approx 490 000 barrels of crude. In an average, they are located by 4 500 meters deep. Discovered in 1995, the production started in 1998 and now produces 220 000 barrels a day.

Magnus: located 160 kilometers northeastern Shetlands Islands, by 2 709 meters deep, it was discovered in 1974. It holds 1.54 billion barrels of crude, 869 million of which are recoverable. It is operated by BP. The deposit entered into production in 1996 and produces 17 000 barrels a day. It is now producing 30 000 barrels further to a peak amounting to 50 000 in 2003. Its crude is transported via a 91 kilometers long pipeline to Central Ninian platform, and then carried to Sullom Voe terminal.

Foinaven: Located 190 kilometers west Shetlands, it was discovered in 1990 by 400 meters deep under the sea level. Its reserves are estimated between 250 and 600 million barrels. The deposit entered into production in 1997. It produces 85 000 barrels a day. It is operated by BP and Marathon Oil. Its oil is carried to Flotta terminal (Orkney) and to Tranmere (Merseyside) terminal.

Foinaven oil field shetland islands iles shetland oil field gisement petrolier ecosse

Schiehallion: located 175 kilometers west Shetlands, in North Atlantic Ocean, it is coupled with Loyal field. It was discovered in 1993 by approx 400 meters under the sea level. The deposit holds 445 million barrels. It entered into production in June 1998. It now produces 142 000 barrels a day (Schiehallion : 117 000, Loyal : 25 000). A production level is intended at 154 000 barrels a day. Oil is carried by pipeline to Sullom Voe terminal. The field is operated by BP and Royal Dutch Shell. The deposit is depleting.

foinaven Schiehallion loyal oil fields deposit shetlands gisement petrole royaume uni uk oil

Numerous other oil fields are present in Great Britain territorial waters, such as Ninian, Blackbird, Conrie, Kinnoul, Golden Eagle, Peregrine, Causeway, Cormorant, East Midlands Oil Province (EMOP), Wytch Farm (onshore – Dorset), Andrew, Cyrus, Harding, Miller, Bruce, and so on.

New deposits with a high potential were discovered recently, such as Falcon (located east Shetland Islands, 3.07 billion barrels) and Loirston (Viking Graben basin, 1.8 billion barrels).

Production and consumption:

Oil prospection took place in the years 1960. Further to the Norwegian discoveries in North Sea, the first oil field in the United Kingdom, Forties, was discovered in 1970 and entered into production in 1975. In 1971, Brent, the giant deposit, was discovered by Royal Dutch Shell. It entered into production in 1976.

The United Kingdom exports over half its production. It mainly exports to the Netherlands (38 %), Germany (22 %) and the United States (17 %). Other countries, such as France, Sweden, Chile, Denmark, imports some.

The country imports 1 million barrels a day, mainly from Norway (73 %).

united kingdom oil export import countries

The production peak was reached in 1999, at 2.65 million barrels of crude oil a day. Since that time, the production reduced by over 38.9 %, at 1.03 million barrels a day in 2011.

united kingdom oil production petrole royaume uni

Almost all United kingdom reserves are located offshore: in North Sea (Brent, Forties, Ninian, Piper, and so on) and on the Atlantic Marge west Shetlands (Foinaven and Schiehallion are the main places.


BP is the greatest British company, the third oil company in the world (behind ExxonMobil and Royal Dutch Shell) and the fourth market capitalization in the world.

bp logo

It is a major actor on the International oil scene. The company is present in 30 countries, holds 17.75 billion barrels petrol equivalent and a refining capacity amounting to 2.35 million barrels a day in 2011.


The pipeline network connects fields located in North Sea to the Scottish coasts and to the north of England, as the pipeline Forties-Cruden Bay which connects Forties fields to Cruden Bay terminal (Scotland) and Ninian-Sullom Voe which connects Ninian field to Sullom Voe terminal on Shetland Island.


The United kingdom holds a refining capacity reaching 1.77 million barrels a day.

Falkland Islands conflict:

Offshore Falkland Islands (United Kingdom), 8.3 billion oil barrels are found. The conflict with Argentina has lasted for over 30 years. The operation has not started yet.

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