Statoil puts shoulder to Svale satellite plans

Statoil has put a newly formed project team to work in its northern Norwegian Harstad office sketching out plans to develop the midsize Svale discovery, proven this spring, as a satellite to its nearby Norne floating production vessel.


LONDON�Statoil has put a newly-formed project team to work in its northern Norwegian Harstad office sketching out plans to develop the midsize Svale discovery, proven this spring, as a satellite to its nearby Norne floating production vessel.

According to the oil company, current thinking favors a subsea installation for the Norwegian Sea development with four production and two injection wells tied back 10 km to the floater and first flow in 2003. Ongoing exploration, however, might reschedule getting a plan for development and operation (PDO) of Svale into the hands of Norwegian authorities to sometime "around the New Year," said Statoil.

Svale is thought to contain 100 million bbl of reserves and would help extend plateau production form the Norne vessel�which brought its eponymous field on stream in late 1997�through to 2005. Norne has reserves of around 510 million bbl of oil and is being produced at a rate of 220,000 b/d of oil.

The operator hopes an exploration well planned for the nearby Falk structure in the fourth quarter will reveal whether there a connection between the reservoir and Svale.

Production Manager Eivind Garborg said the waters around Svale are "interesting, with several promising prospects" that might be drilled if the first Falk well proves successful.

When Norne started production in 1997, the field not only was Statoil's biggest find for "many years," but also was seen by the oil company as representing the "new generation" of regional offshore developments on the grounds that it was "one of the most cost-efficient" off Norway.

Statoil last week reported half-yearly net profits of 5.4 billion kroner, against 1.9 billion kroner for the first 6 months of 1999. The oil company's profit before tax came to 16.8 billion kroner, an jump of 11.7 billion kroner from the same period of last year and the group's "best half-year result ever."

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