ConocoPhillips sees first oil from Norwegian startup field

HOUSTON – Even as it plans for a lean 2015, ConocoPhillips is flowing its first barrels of oil from a major project in the Norwegian North Sea.

It’s the Houston oil explorer’s second big startup off the coast of Norway since late 2013. The firm said Monday that its newly productive Eldfisk II project, alongside its other Norwegian offshore wells, will boost its output 60,000 barrels of petroleum a day by 2017.

The Eldfisk field is one of four offshore oil regions that make up Norway’s Greater Ekofisk Area, a field 200 miles southwest of Stavanger operated by ConocoPhillips and co-owned with Total, Eni and others.

ConocoPhillips, which produced 1.52 million barrels of crude equivalent a day in the first nine months of 2014, is planning to drill 40 new water-injection and oil wells at its Norwegian field as it boosts its crops there over the next three years.

The company is pumping new barrels of oil in Norwegian waters as oil prices have fallen by more than half since June. The U.S. benchmark crude price fell $1.85 to $50.84 a barrel in early trading on Monday. In response to oil’s collapse, ConocoPhillips has said last month it will pare back capital spending by 20 percent this year to $13.5 billion.

Still, the Houston firm still expects to pump 3 percent more petroleum this year than it did in 2014.