Problems slow Statoil's 2010-11 production

Paula Dittrick
OGJ Senior Staff Writer

HOUSTON, Feb. 9 -- Statoil expects its 2011 production to be about the same as its 2010 level or slightly lower, which it attributed to production problems at several fields, including safety concerns at Gullfaks oil and gas field in the North Sea where Statoil has shut in 50 of the field’s 140 wells.

During 2010, Statoil’s total equity production was 1.8 million boe/d compared with 1.9 million boe/d for 2009. Fourth-quarter 2010 equity production was 1.9 million boe/d compared with about 2 million boe/d for the same period the previous year.

On Feb. 1, Statoil said it’s unclear when the 50 shut-in Gullfaks wells might be reopened. Statoil halted drilling last year in Gullfaks field to enable an additional review of drilling operations. Statoil said the review stemmed from a May 19, 2010, incident while drilling Well C-06 on the Gullfaks C platform.

Statoil later provided the Petroleum Safety Authority of Norway a report on its internal investigation after the incident (OGJ Online, Nov. 5, 2010).

On Dec. 12, Statoil shut down Kristin platform in the Norwegian Sea because workers detected higher-than-acceptable temperature outside an exhaust duct on a gas turbine during a routine inspection.

Kristin platform, a hub on the southwestern part of Halten Bank, produces gas, oil, and condensate from Kristin and Tyrihans fields (OGJ Online, Dec. 16, 2010).

Statoil reported fourth quarter 2010 net profit of 9.7 billion kroner, or 2.99 kroner/share, compared with 7.1 billion kroner, or 2.25 kroner/share, for the same period a year earlier. Higher earnings were attributed in part to higher oil and gas prices and higher volumes of gas sold.

"Production volumes were below our expectations in the second part of the year due to high maintenance, specific operational issues, and reduced production permits," Helge Lund, Statoil chief executive, said during a Feb. 9 earnings presentation in London.

Lund said Statoil expects a stable production outlook toward 2020 on the Norwegian Continental Shelf. “The NCS still has a large resource base with significant yet-to-find volumes,” he said.

Statoil is developing 13 fields expected to come on stream by 2012, and it expects companywide production to grow an average 3%/year through 2012.

Meanwhile, Statoil continues expanding its international exploration and production efforts. Statoil Canada Ltd. started bitumen production at Leismer steam-assisted gravity drainage demonstration project in the Athabasca oil sands region of northeast Alberta this year (OGJ Online, Jan. 27, 2011).

Statoil expects to start Peregrino heavy oil field off Brazil towards the end of first quarter. Peregrino is in 100 m of water. China’s Sinochem Group acquired a 40% interest in Peregrino in the Campos basin from Statoil for $3.07 billion (OGJ Online, May 21, 2010). Statoil owned 100% before the transaction.

Contact Paula Dittrick at paulad@ogjonline.com.

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