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Statoil to drill Porcupine basin prospect off Ireland


By the OGJ Online Staff


LONDON, Mar. 9�Transocean Sedco Forex Inc.'s drilling rig Sovereign Explorer will spud the first exploration well on the Sarsfield prospect on the Irish continental shelf for Statoil AS late this spring, the Irish unit of the Norwegian state-owned oil and gas confirmed said Friday.

Sarsfield is on exploration block 35/21 in the Porcupine basin west of Ireland in 650 m of water. An earlier well drilled for Statoil in the area, in Connemara field, suggested the prospect would not be "profitable" to develop.

TSF's semisubmersible is scheduled to arrive at the field in May to begin what currently is viewed as a one-well program.

A 3D seismic program was shot over the block in the summer of 1998.

Partners in exploration license 8/95, which covers five area blocks, are operator Statoil, Conoco Inc.'s North Sea E&P arm Conoco UK, Enterprise Energy Ireland Ltd., and Dana Petroleum PLC. Statoil said it would be releasing a full breakdown of the coventurers' percentage interests "in the coming weeks."

Meanwhile, Statoil reported that an exploration well drilled on the Delta structure south east of the Barents Sea Snøhvit field has come up dry. The hole was drilled to prove oil in the Jurassic sandstone of the Block 7121/5 structure.

TSF's Transocean Arctic semisubmersible drilled the hole to 2,265 m TD into the Triassic.

"Only traces of oil and gas in the Jurassic and Triassic sandstone layers were proven," said Erik Henriksen, Statoil's exploration manager for the Barents Sea.

"The result was disappointing, and the possibility of developing the petroleum resources in the Snøhvit area has been weakened," he acknowledged.

Statoil collected around 60 m of core samples and logged the well extensively. Statoil is the operator for production license 110 in block 7121/5, one of seven licenses in the Snøhvit area.


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