Statoil makes third Flemish Pass basin oil discovery

This article was updated Aug. 28.

Statoil ASA made its third oil discovery in the Flemish Pass basin offshore Newfoundland and Labrador. Statoil is calling the discovery “encouraging.”

The Bay du Nord discovery, which was drilled in 1,100 m of water on EL 1112 about 500 km northeast of St. John’s, Newf., is the company’s second discovery so far this year offshore Newfoundland.

In June, the company made an oil strike with its Harpoon prospect, also drilled on EL 1112; Harpoon lies about 10 km north of the Bay du Nord find (OGJ Online, June 19, 2013).

In June 2012, Statoil made an oil discovery with its Mizzen well, which it estimates could hold 100-200 million bbl of oil (OGJ Online, June 21, 2012). Bay du Nord lies about 20 km south of Mizzen (see map, OGJ Feb. 14, 2005, p. 34).

Tim Dodson, Statoil exploration executive vice-president, said that as the volumes of both the Bay du Nord and Harpoon wells continue to be evaluated, Statoil is developing a greater understanding of the geology and potential of the basin.

“The Flemish Pass basin is a strategic part of Statoil’s global exploration portfolio. We are now planning to return to the area for further appraisal drilling in the future,” Dodson noted.

The Bay du Nord and Harpoon wells were drilled using Seadrill Ltd.’s West Aquarius semisubmersible drilling rig.

Statoil used its proprietary seismic techniques to evaluate the potential of the Bay du Nord prospect, said Eric Finnstrom, Statoil senior vice-president, exploration, for North America.

Speaking to reporters on Aug. 27 in Houston, Finnstrom said the discovery is believed to be very large although it’s too early to estimate reserves or discuss potential volumes yet. “With the Bay du Nord discovery, we now have the makings of a core position in Canada,” he said. Currently, Statoil’s core areas are Norway and the Gulf of Mexico.

Statoil, operator of Bay du Nord and Harpoon, holds 65% interest; Husky Energy Inc. holds the remainder.

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