The razzle dazzle of US tight oil and new rules on marine fuels could have meant a chilly reception for the arrival of the North Sea’s Johan Sverdrup.
The medium sour crude grade could be the region’s last big production boost at a time when, especially in Europe, there has been a shift to cleaner, less-sulfurous fuels. But China, India and the US will likely welcome it with open arms.
While much of the talk of the onset of Johan Sverdrup has been around the resilience of the North Sea, with the first phase set to add 440,000 b/d by next summer and 660,000 b/d by 2023, the real story is the global appeal of the medium sour crude grade.
Johan Sverdrup has a density of 28 and sulfur level of 0.8%, which means it is of slightly inferior quality to UK’s Forties, the largest of the five grades