Bangchak expands petroleum business in Norway

Picture of Okea's petroleum platform at Draugen in the Norwegian Sea courtesy of Bangkok Post

Bangchak Corporation, a prominent energy conglomerate listed on the Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET), is advancing its petroleum business in Norway. The corporation, via its subsidiary Okea ASA, is set to develop an additional production facility at the offshore Brasse petroleum field in the North Sea.

This move aligns with Bangchak’s 2022 announcement to bolster its investments in oil and gas exploration and production, reaffirming its commitment to fortifying its upstream petroleum business.

Okea ASA, headquartered in Norway, specialises in oil and gas drilling. According to Chaiwat Kovavisarach, Bangchak’s chief executive and chairman of Okea ASA, the Brasse field holds an estimated 24 million barrels of oil equivalent in recoverable reserves. Okea ASA has a significant 39.2% share in the Brasse project, which is strategically located south of the Brage petroleum field, where Okea serves as the operator.

The development plans at Brasse include a subsea tieback linked to petroleum production at Brage. Kovavisarach anticipates that Brasse will commence operation in the first half of 2027. Initial production estimates from this field stand at roughly 10,000 barrels of crude oil equivalent per day during its first year of operation. Kovavisarach shared his optimism about the project.

“The operation is ahead of schedule and requires a lower investment budget than expected. The Brasse field has so far made significant progress in exploration and development.”

Okea plans to submit a development and operation plan to the Norwegian government this month. As part of this plan, the petroleum field will be renamed from Brasse to Bestla. Bangchak Corporation acquired a 45.7% share in Okea, which is listed on the Oslo Stock Exchange, back in 2018.

In addition to the Brasse field, Okea operates other oil fields. It took over the Draugen oil field from Shell in 2018 and has been persistently developing new fields since. The company also manages gas production at the Hasselmus petroleum field, which is linked to Draugen via a subsea tieback. Production at Hasselmus is projected to add 4,400 barrels of oil equivalent per day at plateau.

Bangchak’s ambitions are not limited to expanding its upstream petroleum business. It is also concentrating on oil refining and retail, reported Bangkok Post.

In the previous year, it acquired Esso (Thailand) Plc. Kovavisarach has previously acknowledged the automotive industry’s shift towards battery-powered cars. However, he firmly believes that the oil demand will persist for many more decades.

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Alex Morgan

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