Swedish firm to look for fresh oil in the Arctic

A Swedish oil and gas firm is hoping to strike black gold in the Arctic, as the industry battles dwindling revenues.

Swedish firm to look for fresh oil in the Arctic
Lundin Petroleum's Island Innovator platform in Barents Sea. Photo: Pi Frisk/SvD/TT

Lundin Petroleum confirmed plans on Wednesday to explore the southern parts of Barents Sea. 

"We are very excited with the potential," chief executive Ashley Heppenstall said in a statement after the company struck oil in two prospects over the past years.

The discoveries – made under the prospects Gotha and Alta, some 100 miles off the Norwegian coast – lie in a remote region known for extreme weather that sends exploration costs soaring, but the company said it would be possible to pool resources because of their close proximity to each other.

The Swedish firm's move bucks a general trend of withdrawing from the expensive region, following the steep drop in oil prices since June.

As reported by The Local Norway last year, a drilling project carried out by Norwegian state-owned Statoil in a northern part of the Barents failed to meet high industry expectations.

"In today's oil price environment there is little focus from the markets on exploration assets. Indeed many view them as a liability," Heppenstall said. 

"We however continue to believe in higher medium term oil prices and as such the key to create long term value will remain access to resources."

On Monday Norway proposed eight new exploration licences, one of which is located in the Barents Sea.