Mazimizing the potential at NCS – The winner of the IOR award

The IOR award (Improved Oil Recovery) is given to a production licence, company, project or individual expected to create added value on the Norwegian continental shelf (NCS) through groundbreaking work related to improved oil recovery.

We are proud that the 16th award will be presented at ONS Digital. The prize was instituted by the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate in 1998. An impressive 24 nominations have been submitted to the jury, which includes 7 representatives from different disciplines in the NPD. The nominated candidates include companies, fields, technologies, research institutions and individuals, and they will be assessed according to how they fulfil these criteria:

Implementation of new technology or established technology applied in a new way
Smarter work methods and processes
Project maturity
Willingness to take risks, determination and intrepidity
Outstanding research


On the Grane field, operator Equinor and partners Petoro, Vår Energi and ConocoPhillips have distinguished themselves with many years of good work in drilling and wells, as well as reservoir management. Those are the words of Anders Soltvedt, discipline coordinator for reservoir technology and foreman of the IOR award jury.

“They have led the way in using technology and have set a goal of achieving a recovery rate for the field of more than 70 per cent. That is exceptionally high,” he says.

Grane was discovered in 1991, and since its start-up in 2003 the field has been one of the biggest producers on the Norwegian Shelf. The oil volume in the development plan, which was estimated at 112 million standard cubic metres (sm3 o.e.), was produced in 2017, almost ten years ahead of the original plan.

Geir Evensen
Geir Evensen has made significant contributions over the course of many years to the development of modelling methods based on the ensemble approach. This technology is used extensively among the oil and gas companies on the Norwegian shelf.

Evensen invented the Ensemble Kalman Filter (EnKF) algorithm in 1994, which has subsequently been further developed and used by several international oil companies. In the 2000s, he led the work to implement this model in Equinor. Use of ensemble-based methods within reservoir modelling has resulted in a better description of the uncertainty in the subsurface with the aid of automation and rapid, continuous updates of the reservoir models.

“The method leads to a better basis for making decisions, and thus improved value creation,” says Soltvedt.

Oil company Lundin is nominated for its commitment to using formation and long-term tests before making important development decisions. These tests reveal how well oil and gas flow through the reservoir and into a well. The company is also nominated for its work within improved recovery and systematic data acquisition on the Edvard Grieg field in the North Sea.

“Lundin has done a great job on testing wells. On Edvard Grieg, the focus on continuous data acquisition has contributed to increase reserves by 15 million standard cubic metres of oil equivalents since the PDO, which corresponds to an increase in the recovery rate from 38 to 52 per cent,” says the jury foreman.

“Analyses of data collected through formation testing provides a better picture of the extent of the reservoir,” he adds.

“This will in turn give us a better foundation for making decisions on the number of wells and their placement. In a best-case scenario, the method can reduce the need for wells.

Director General of the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate, Ingrid Sølvberg will be announcing the winner of this year’s price on Tuesday 1 September at 12:20