Statoil has temporarily suspended drilling on the Ballena 1-X well for safety reasons. The company is using theSovereign Explorer semisubmersible to drill the well, which is in Plataforma Deltana block 4 off Venezuela.
Statoil has a goal to cause zero harm to people and the environment, and will not risk proceeding with operations that do not comply with the group's safety standards, the company says. Despite six weeks of repairs by rig owner Transocean, the technical standard of the semi does not meet Statoil's requirements for safe drilling in high-pressure reservoirs.
The company has notified Venezuela's Ministry of Energy and Petroleum and national oil company Petróleos de Venezuela SA.
Statoil will take steps to resume operations as soon as possible. This action includes searching for an alternative drilling rig.
Statoil operates Plataforma Deltana block 4, a license awarded by the Ministry of Energy and Mines in February 2003. The minimum exploration campaign includes three exploratory wells over four years.