By OGJ editors
HOUSTON, Sept. 15 -- The Statoil ASA-led Snøhvit consortium is planning to drill additional wells in the Barents Sea next year and in 2008 to seek additional gas reserves for a possible future expansion of the Hammerfest gas liquefaction plant at Melkøya in northern Norway.
The plans follow a small gas discovery on the Tornerose structure that the company finds "encouraging."
Although Tornerose reserves alone would not provide enough gas for expanding the LNG plant, the discovery "marks an important stage in efforts to enlarge the resource base in the area," said Tim Dodson, Statoil's senior vice-president for exploration on the Norwegian continental shelf.
"The Tornerose discovery confirms that we're heading in the right direction," he said. The structure, which Dodson calls viable, "strengthens opportunities for expanding the Snøhvit gas liquefaction facility at Melkøya."
Statoil said Transocean Inc.'s Polar Pioneer semisubmersible rig drilled exploration well 7122/6-2 on production license 110B in 408 m of water and proved gas in several sandstone layers from the late-Triassic.
The well was drilled to 3,057 m TMD below sea level about 60 km east of Statoil-operated Snøhvit field and 100 km northwest of Hammerfest.
This phase of the work on Tornerose will be completed Sept. 19, when the well will be permanently plugged and abandoned.
Eni SPA will then have Polar Pioneer drill appraisal well 7122/7-4 on the Goliat oil structure on production license 229, where Statoil also is a licensee.
The Statoil group has a 33.53% interest in Tornerose. Its partners are Petoro 30%, Total E&P Norge 18.4%, Gaz de France Norge 12%, Hess Norge 3.26%, and RWE Dea Norge 2.81%.