North Sea finds linked in 'giant' oil discovery

Statoil Petroleum AS said communication has been established between the Aldous and Avaldsnes oil discoveries, representing a single oil structure with potentially 0.5-1.2 billion bbl of recoverable oil equivalent.

“If the upper part of the interval strikes pay dirt, the discovery will be one of the 10 largest oil finds ever on the Norwegian continental shelf,” said Statoil, which has a 40% stake both in license PL 265, where Aldous was discovered, and in PL 501, where the Avaldsnes discovery was made.

“Norway has not seen a similar oil discovery since the mid-80s” said Tim Dodson, Statoil’s executive vice-president for exploration, referring to the firm’s third high-impact discovery in 2011.

In April the 250 million bbl Skrugard oil discovery was made in the Barents Sea, and the 150-300 million bbl Peregrino South oil field was discovered off Brazil.

On Aug. 8, Statoil announced that a minimum 65 m oil column has been confirmed in Aldous Major South well 16/2-8 in the North Sea. Statoil said that the discovery was made “in Jurassic sandstone in a very good quality reservoir consisting of coarse-grained, unconsolidated sand.”

Statoil said 200-400 million bbl of the resources were discovered in well 16/2-8, with strong indications from well data of another 200-400 million bbl of recoverable oil equivalent in the same structure.

Earlier, Statoil said, a resource base of 100-400 bbl has been estimated in the Avaldsnes structure (PL 501).

The well was drilled by the Transocean Leader drilling rig, which soon will spud Aldous Major North well 16/2-9 (PL265) to clarify the further potential and any communication with Aldous and Avaldsnes.

The partners plan further appraisal drilling in license PL 265 in 2012 to clarify the full volume potential for a future development solution.

The link between the two fields is timely, coming as Norway faced dwindling output at maturing North Sea fields and smaller new finds. According to the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate, the country’s production peaked in 2000 and is forecast to drop 6% this year to about 1.7 million b/d.

However, Dodson was upbeat about the new linkage, suggesting that they are evidence of new life on the NCS.

Aldous Major South is on license 265. Statoil is the operator and has a 40% interest. Partners are Petoro 30%, DNO 20%, and Lundin 10%.

Avaldsnes is on license 501. Lundin is the operator with a 40% interest; partners Statoil and Maersk have 40% and 20% stakes, respectively.

Contact Eric Watkins at hippalus@yahoo.com.

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