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Fifty years ago the first well was drilled in the Danish North Sea following the discovery of hydrocarbon traces in what later became the Kraka field. Denmark was on its way to becoming a major producer of oil and gas.
Four years earlier, in 1962, the A.P. Møller-Maersk Group had been awarded the sole concession for the exploration and extraction of oil and gas in the Danish sector of the North Sea – but with a condition attached. Maersk Oil had 10 years to find oil and begin production – success would give the company the concession for the next 40 years. It was a race against time that Maersk Oil won, with first oil being produced on 4 July 1972.
Since then, many other oil and gas fields have been brought into production by Maersk Oil, which operates the assets in the Danish North Sea as part of a partnership named Dansk Undergrunds Consortium (DUC) with Shell, Chevron and Nordsøfonden. In the 1980s, gas was produced from the Tyra field and the first horizontal well drilled in the Dan field; in the 1990s, as production boomed, Denmark became self-sufficient in oil and gas.
With Maersk Oil at the forefront, the oil and gas industry has contributed DKK400 billion to the Danish state over the past 50 years, and provided employment to 15,000 people and security of energy supply to Denmark.
Maersk Oil’s goal is to maximise production from existing fields – cost-effectively, safely and with the minimum environmental impact. Through its efforts, Maersk Oil and the DUC can maintain oil and gas production for many years to come. Current estimates suggest around 1.4 billion barrels of oil are yet to be extracted.
Along with the industry, Maersk Oil is now celebrating a half-century of exploration and production in the Danish North Sea. The company is immensely proud of its “First50”, but it also has its eyes focused on the future.
Jakob Thomasen, Maersk Oil Chief Executive Officer
“For Maersk Oil the entire North Sea area represents great potential and we are pleased to now be celebrating this milestone of fifty years in the Danish sector. Our activities in the Danish part of the North sea have given us valuable experience and capabilities that we are now also leveraging in our operations globally.”
Martin Rune Pedersen Managing Director
“The oil and gas reserves in the Danish North Sea belong to the Danes. At Maersk Oil we are proud to be operating the DUC fields and to help harvest the benefits the reserves continue to represent for Denmark. After extracting oil for 50 years there is still significant remaining recovery potential and we look forward to many more years of safe and efficient production.”