Waiting for Sverdrup

Whichever way you slice it, the giant Johan Sverdrup field in the Norwegian North Sea is proving a major success for its operator, state-controlled Statoil.

The firm now expects the project’s 440,000 b/d first phase to cost 28pc less than it estimated when phase 1 was approved in 2015. The field’s recoverable resources are now pegged at 2.1bn-3.1bn bl of oil equivalent (boe), up from previous guidance of 2bn-3bn boe and initial guidance of 1.7bn-3bn boe.

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The ghost of Chinguetti

Whatever your take was on the recent paper on peak oil demand and long-run oil prices, co-authored by BP chief economist Spencer Dale and Oxford Institute for Energy Studies director Bassam Fattouh, it was hard to find fault with this line:

[If] no new investments are made and existing levels of production decline at a rate of 3pc/yr… this implies a huge and ever widening gap between oil supply and the demand profiles. Under almost any scenario, the world is likely to require significant amounts of investment in new oil production for many years to come.

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Caracas outruns the barrel counters

Back in the 1990s, Venezuela, like some other Opec countries, used to fudge its crude production numbers to avoid accusations of breaching its Opec quota. Until recently, Caracas was still blurring the data, not to sneak extra barrels into the market, but to keep the market from knowing how much its production was falling.

Over the past few months, Venezuela looks to have come clean on the data —  so clean that even secondary sources like Argus are racing to knotch down their estimates of Venezuelan output. It’s a far cry from the days when official data routinely exceeded secondary source estimates.

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