SPEI Board Interview: Karl Ludvig Heskestad: SPE Offshore Europe is a chance to discuss the new North Sea

27 Jul 2017

SPE Offshore Europe 2017
Karl Ludvig Heskestad
SPE Offshore Europe is a chance to discuss the new North Sea

An interest in geology shapes the background of Karl Ludvig Heskestad, the Society of Petroleum Engineers’ regional director for the North Sea Region. The Norwegian has strong connections to the natural landscape and as a reservoir engineer understands the complexities of exploration and production activity in locations as diverse as the Norwegian Continental Shelf and the Barents Sea.

Karl Ludvig has moved into a business development role with a company that epitomises the collaborative, forward thinking approach required in a lower cost base oil and gas industry. Aker BP was formed out of established players Det norske oljeselskap and BP Norge.

As the voice of the North Sea on the SPE board of directors, Karl Ludvig is looking forward to the flagship home show that is SPE Offshore Europe 2017. He believes a lot has changed on both sides of the North Sea over the last two years but knows that now is a time to continue sharing advice and forward planning.

He explained his belief that Norway is slightly ahead of the UK in terms of emerging from the downturn, but said there are signs of a positive future for both areas. He said: “Phones are beginning to ring again and activity is picking up. I have been impressed with the way vendors have done their bit to reduce their costs and I know operators have appreciated that and are working closer with the supply chain. It has been a difficult time with small margins, but there is optimism.

“I hope SPE Offshore Europe will be a chance to communicate what is actually happening in the North Sea. There has been a rise in activity and I know the Norwegian Government is expecting a certain number of final investment decisions to be submitted with high capex estimates. If Norway is picking up, then I expect the green shoots to appear in the UK too.”

In Karl Ludvig’s day job with Aker BP he has witnessed the benefits of being a smaller, nimble operator with strong financial and operational backing. The firm has had an aggressive mergers and acquisitions policy from its outset, gaining production assets to offset a large capex programme. One of its big developments, Ivar Aasen came onstream in December last year and the partnership in the massive Johan Sverdrup field is reaping rewards too. The focus is evidenced by the share price which rose from $5 to $19 in a year in a low oil price scenario.

“I think it is important for us to continue to optimise efficiencies so that when the oil price does rise that the value gain for vendors and operators can be satisfyingly high. New discoveries are also adding to the positivity, and I hope there will be a chance to discuss these further at OE.

“The North Sea is still very highly valued globally, but there are other exciting discoveries and prospects regionally, for example off the west coast of Ireland and in the Barents Sea. With the OGA highlighting 30 billion barrels remaining in the UKCS and the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate forecasting 90 billion barrels there are many years left for our industry in this region.”

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