Statoil presses on with Norwegian Sea wildcats

Oil and gas giant Statoil Wednesday reported it was pressing ahead with a program of drilling in the Falk structure near its Norne development in the Norwegian Sea after having spudded a duster in the Nordland VI area. Via the new well, 6608/11-2, Statoil hopes to firm up a connection between the unexplored Falk area and its earlier Svale discovery.


LONDON�Oil and gas giant Statoil Wednesday reported it was pressing ahead with a program of drilling in the Falk structure near its Norne development in the Norwegian Sea after having spudded a duster in the Nordland VI area. Via the new well, 6608/11-2, Statoil hopes to firm up a connection between the unexplored Falk area and its earlier Svale discovery to the south.

Roger Inge Johansen, Sector Manager for Exploration in the Nordland area of the Norwegian Sea, acknowledged Statoil was "unsure" about the delineation of this structure.

"Falk could be a small, isolated structure or it may be linked with Svale," said Johansen, adding a petrogeological connection to Svale would be the "best outcome" of its drilling efforts "because it would enhance the economics" of developing Svale.

Svale was proven last spring and is estimated to contain roughly 100 million bbl of oil. Current thinking at Statoil on a plan for development and operation (PDO) of the discovery favor a satellite tieback to the Norne production vessel. The oil company reckons its PDO could be ready for the second quarter of next year, with first oil flowing in 2003.

The Falk wildcat, being spudded from the West Navion drillship, is expected to take just under a month to complete, with an added 10-15 days for "sampling and possible testing" should a discovery be made.

The West Navion comes to Falk following "disappointing" drilling work in production licence 220 in the Nordland VI area, south-west of Røst in the Lofoten islands, where Statoil was targeting Palaeocene structures that it says "represent a new exploration model in the northern North Sea."

Despite the disheartening drilling result, Kristin Rønning, manager for exploration operations in new areas of the Norwegian Sea, still sees "opportunities for further activity" in the region.

"The well gives interesting information on geological conditions, and we're continuing to evaluate the area for possible new exploration," she said.

Opened for drilling in 1994, Nordland VI has "special environmental qualities." Extensive work has been done in recent years to determine the possible impact of offshore operations in these waters and restrictions have been imposed on drilling activities by a Norwegian authorities in order to safeguard the environment.

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