Norway Confronts Leading-Edge E&P Issues

Statoil gears up for phase 2 of the Johan Sverdrup project. Image courtesy Statoil.

Lill Harriet Brusdal is vice president Petroleum Technology and Competence with Statoil, located in Bergen, Norway. Previously, she was a health, safety, and environment manager with the company. As conference cochair of the annual Norway One Day Seminar to be held on 18 April 2018 in Bergen, she offered her views about out how the industry is addressing well, drilling, completion, and intervention issues and what to expect in the upstream sector in the near future.


What are the most significant challenges facing the E&P sector in Norway?

The oil and gas industry has been through a couple of really challenging years with low oil and gas prices and low profitability. As the activity level is now starting to increase on the Norwegian Continental Shelf (NCS), we see pessimism turning into more optimism. I believe one of our most significant challenges right now is to avoid getting into an increasing cost spiral that we have experienced before. We need to continue the improvement journey most industry players have started and, in collaboration, develop lasting, sustainable efficiency improvements, focus on standardization and low-cost solutions, and develop and implement technology to improve efficiency.

What are your thoughts on new megaprojects? Where are the opportunities in the region?

Although the NCS is a mature petroleum province, we have great faith that there are significant resources left to find. We believe the best chance of finding these is in the Norwegian and Barents Sea. Statoil plans 25-30 exploration wells on the NCS in 2018, five of these in the Barents Sea, and we certainly believe some of these have potential to become new megaprojects.

Companies are opting to increase focus on such aspects as new modelling, simulation, and optimization of technologies, for example. What implications will this have on cost saving?

Our industry has a great history of innovation. Take the Troll field in the NCS as an example where the thin oil layer below the huge gas cap was thought impossible to develop. The drilling of horizontal wells changed this and the Troll field is still Norway’s largest oil producer. In Statoil we keep a high focus on research and technology development toward our 60% recovery ambition from our oil and gas fields, develop solutions for frontier areas as well as new energy and low carbon solutions for our oil and gas portfolio. In times with challenging profitability in our industry we focus on developing technology that will not only improve the quality of our work but also make us more efficient and reduce cost, for example, through digital technologies, robotics, and remote control and automation of work processes.

With the focus on big data and digitalization in the industry, what do you think are the first steps for companies developing a strategy? What do you think will be the game changers in the foreseeable future?

I believe digital technologies have the potential to become a game changer for the oil and gas industry, affecting not only what tools we use in our work, but also how and where we work and how we collaborate. Our industry has until now not really been front runners in digitalization, although we have a history of great innovations and have been using digital tools for decades. Many oil and gas companies are currently developing digital strategies to release the potential in the development of information technology and digitalization and avoid the risk of disruption. Some good first steps to do this may be to collaborate externally and learn from more digitally advanced companies. Another important step will be to develop digital capabilities and leadership in current organizations. Within my area, petroleum technology, one of our first steps is to get control of our huge amounts of data. Cleaning, quality tagging, and making it available for advanced analytics are prerequisites for capturing value from our huge amount of data and improving decision making.

What are the key takeaways for an industry professional if they attend the Norway One Day Seminar?

I believe industry professionals attending the one-day SPE seminar will get a lot of new great ideas to take back to their companies. The seminar has a reputation for high-quality technical content and a strong focus on innovation. With this year’s strengthened involvement from operator companies, I have great hopes for seeing more presentations focusing on operational challenges and solutions. We have included optimizing operational efficiency as a main topic and here I personally look forward to seeing plans for and experience with digitalization, automation, remote operations, and capturing value from data.

In addition to this, the seminar has been relaunched as a national event and therefore will be a great place for networking.

What can young professionals and students expect from attending the Future Leadership Program at the conference?

I would really recommend future leaders to attend the seminar as this is a great arena for competence building, getting a broad view on what is going on in the industry, to meet and get to know senior industry professionals, and to build their network with other future leaders. A special program is planned for future leaders attending in which they will be able to follow both the main seminar program as well as meet and dialogue with key professionals and industry leaders.

To find out more about the seminar, please visit www.spe.org/go/18berg.

Norway Confronts Leading-Edge E&P Issues

15 December 2017


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