Statoil upbeat on exploration, diverse assets

Statoil ASA believes it can boost its production from offshore Norway, Canada, and Tanzania while also building its production from US onshore unconventional assets, Statoil Chief Executive Officer Helge Lund said during a media briefing on Oct. 7 in Houston.

“Norway has more to give,” Lund said. “We have an ambition of producing as much in 2020 as we do now in Norway.” He recalled with a smile how he and many others believed the Norwegian Continental Shelf was dwindling 10 years ago.

In September, a group announced a gas discovery at the Iskrystall prospect on PL 608 in the Barents Sea offshore Norway. Statoil has 50% interest, Eni Norge 30%, and Petoro 20%. Well 7219/8-2 proved a 200-m gas column in the Sto and Nordmela formations. Statoil estimated volumes at 6-25 million boe (OGJ Online, Sept. 23, 2013).

“The Barents Sea is an area where industry has struggled,” Lund said, adding that recent drilling by various companies is helping revive interest in Norwegian exploration.

Lundin Petroleum AB last month announced the Gohta oil discovery (OGJ Online, Sept. 10, 2013). Separately, OMV (Norge) AG also announced a Barents Sea discovery on Hoop high (OGJ Online, Sept. 6, 2013).

Lund noted the Hoop well was the northernmost well in the Barents Sea and was north of the traditional oil-producing area.

OMV estimated 60-160 million bbl of recoverable oil and 10-40 bcf of recoverable gas from its discovery. The 7324/8-1 Wisting Central vertical rank wildcat on PL 537 proved OMV’s exploration concept, opening a new play fairway. Total depth was 905 m in 373 m of water. The well was 310 km north of Hammerfest and 120 km northeast of Statoil’s prospective Johan Castberg area.

Statoil has two significant discoveries at Johan Castberg, Lund said, adding that Statoil has yet to drill two of four wells planned there.

The next Barents Sea exploration phase will come during 2014 involving an area that was previously a subject of dispute between Norway and Russia. Rosneft has invited Statoil to participate on one of its blocks, Lund said. “The acreage is huge.”

Earlier this year, Statoil made its third oil discovery in the Flemish Pass basin off Newfoundland and Labrador. The Bay du Nord discovery was drilled in 1,100 m of water on EL 1112 about 500 km northeast of St. John’s, Newf.

It marked the company’s second discovery so far this year offshore Newfoundland. In June, Statoil announced an oil discovery 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).

Lund said Statoil also is looking into possible LNG projects as a result of its significant gas discoveries offshore Tanzania (OGJ Online, June 14, 2012).

He noted Statoil shifted its focus several years ago to gain early entrance into new, higher-risk plays.

Contact Paula Dittrick at paulad@ogjonline.com.

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