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Statoil announces major Barents Sea drilling campaign for 2017

05 September 2016

On August 30, Statoil announced that it will carry out a major drilling programme next year in the Norwegian sector of the Barents Sea. The announcement was made at ONS, Norway’s largest oil conference, and follows the Norwegian oil group’s decision to increase its share in a number of permit areas to the north of the country. 

Map of Barents Sea licences - Image: Statoil
Map of Barents Sea licences - Image: Statoil

The company’s Barents Sea campaign will include five to seven test wells, including one at Goliat, where Statoil partners with ENI Norge at the only field currently in production in the Norwegian sector of the Barents Sea. Another will be sunk at the Korpfjell formation near Norway’s maritime border with Russia.

In an interview with Reuters at ONS, Statoil head of exploration Tim Dodson said at least three of the prospects - Korpfjell, Koigen Central and Gemini North - were expected to be ‘high-impact wells’, defined by the company as having the potential to provide a total of more than 250 million barrels of oil equivalent (boe) to Statoil and any partners, or 100 million boe net to Statoil alone.

Statoil already has a rig on contract which is suitable for operation in the Barents Sea and the company says it is working on obtaining approvals from partners and authorities for the 2017 exploration campaign. Unlike other Arctic regions, the part of the Barents Sea where oil companies can drill is free of ice and as shallow as the North Sea.

Other than the licence areas awarded directly to the company in the 23rd round, Statoil has also increased its share in the Hoop and Stappenhøyden fields by purchasing stakes from ConocoPhillips, Point Resources, OMV and DEA Norge.

Jez Averty, Statoil’s head of exploration on the Norwegian continental shelf (NCS), said the company’s investment in the area demonstrated its belief in the continuing potential of the Barents Sea.

“We are working actively on replenishing our exploration portfolio through government awards, developing new ideas in existing licences and making agreements with other companies on acquiring licences. This provides a good basis for exploring more interesting opportunities,” he said.

“We have also worked efficiently on reducing costs by developing new technology, such as Cap-XTM, and improving drilling efficiency. The wells to be drilled in the south-eastern part of the Barents Sea next year seem to be the most inexpensive offshore exploration wells throughout Statoil.”

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