ConocoPhillips Norway

Research and Development

Right from the start, ConocoPhillips has collaborated with research institutions and universities, which has led to innovative solutions that have had a major impact on the development of the fields in the Greater Ekofisk Area. After having produced oil and gas since 1971, we are now looking ahead to 2050. This would not have been possible without innovative ideas and solutions that have been of great significance for the company’s business in Norway.

While consolidating our position in the North Sea, our ambition is clear: We want to expand our portfolio on the Norwegian shelf and have more legs to stand on. Among other things, we received operatorships and stakes in licenses in the Barents Sea through the licensing rounds. This interest in the northern regions is part of the background for our extensive Arctic research program.


Research Areas

Our total research contribution to universities and research institutions since the dawn of Norway’s offshore age in the early 1970s amounts to nearly five billion kroner. Some of the most important areas of research today are production increase from existing fields, integrated operations, more cost-effective drilling, multi-phase technology and Arctic engagement.

In 2013, we have approximately 80 research projects, most of which are carried out by Norwegian universities and research institutions.

Production Increase Existing Fields

When the Ekofisk field came on stream in 1971, calculations showed that it was possible to extract 17-18 percent of the hydrocarbons in the field with the aid of natural pressure. This figure has increased considerably since then, mainly thanks to water injection. Factors that improve the utilization of reservoir and geology-related technologies - and development of new technology within completion, process control and drilling, e.g. the horizontal wells of today, also play a major role. The Ekofisk South project will increase the oil recovery rate by around 2 percent, raising the recovery to 52 percent by the end of 2028, the current licensing period.

In 2002, the research center Corec (Center for Oil Recovery) was established as a collaboration between ConocoPhillips, the University of Stavanger (UiS) and the research foundation IRIS. The establishment of the center was funded by ConocoPhillips as operator of the Ekofisk, Eldfisk, Embla and Tor fields (production license 018). The research projects at Corec have been a key factor in enhanced recovery on the fields in the Greater Ekofisk Area. The center has also helped bolster petroleum research at UiS.

One major future-oriented project is 4D seismic (LOFS - Life of Field Seismic), launched in 2009. By utilising technology from the telecommunications and defence industry in a new and innovative manner, the integrated geological and engineering community in Tananger developed a system for permanent monitoring of oil and water movements in the Ekofisk reservoir using fiber optics. This is the world's first system of its type. 20,000 sensors, 4,000 listening buoys and 240 kilometers of fiber optic cables have been installed on the ocean floor, and seismic data is obtained twice a year or as needed. This acquisition of seismic data will gradually give a 4D picture, where time is the fourth dimension. This makes it easier to estimate how water and oil ‘flow’ in the reservoir – and this improves the well planning work.