The Norwegian government gave Equinor consent to start production drilling in an oil field in the Norwegian Sea set for a production start next year.
"We have given Equinor consent to use the Songa Enabler mobile drilling facility for production drilling on the Trestakk field in the Norwegian Sea," the Petroleum Safety Authority of Norway announced Thursday.
Equinor submitted a field development plan for Trestakk in 2016, outlining capital spending for the program of around $675 million. Discovered in 1986, the company estimates Trestakk contains around 7 million barrels of oil equivalent, with most of that existing as oil. Production is slated for 2019 and spending is about half as much as initially expected.
Norway derives much of its own power from renewable resources, sending nearly all of its offshore oil and natural gas production to the European market. That makes Norway an important producer for a European economy trying to break the Russian grip on the regional energy sector.
The Norwegian Petroleum Directorate, the nation's energy regulator, reported total production for oil in June averaged 1.48 million barrels per day, about 3 percent lower than expected.
In its first quarterly release since changing its name from Statoil, the company reported equity production of 2 million boe per day, up 1.6 percent from the same period last year. Most of that, however, was attributed to its interests in the United States, which is on pace to be the world leader in oil production.
"As of second quarter 2018, Equinor had completed 10 exploration wells with four commercial discoveries," the company stated.
Adjusted earnings for the second quarter were $4.3 billion, up 43 percent from the same period last year.
Equinor in June installed a 22,000-ton component of one of the platforms for the infrastructure necessary to pull oil out of the Johan Sverdrup field. Production is scheduled for late 2019 and output could reach 660,000 barrels of oil per day by 2022, making Johan Sverdrup one of largest contributors to Norwegian production growth.
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