LONDON, July 12 -- Statoil Faerøyene AS Wednesday spudded a wildcat to test the deepwater Longan prospect off the Faroes, the first well off the self-governing Danish islands.
The well is in 941 m of water on license 003 in the Atlantic Margin near the UK continental shelf. Transocean Sedco Forex Inc.'s semisubmersible Sovereign Explorer will take 2-3 months to drill the hole.
Rolf Magne Larsen, Statoil's senior vice-president for international exploration, said, "This is an important development for the Faroes and its people."
Faroes Minister of Petroleum Eyðun Elttør said, "I am convinced that petroleum production will bring more opportunities than dangers to the Faroe Islands."
But Elttør stressed that "challenging times" lay ahead. "We must however not forget that the activities this summer are the first wells in an exploration phase, and that our petroleum-producing neighbours saw many exploration wells before commercial finds were made."
In the first licensing round on the Faroe Shelf, launched in February 2000, the Ministry of Petroleum received 22 applications from 17 oil companies. Last August it issued 7 exploration and production licenses to 12 companies.
In addition to Statoil, BP PLC and the Faroes Partnership, with Amerada Hess Inc. as operator, also plan to drill this summer.
Statoil Faerøyene operates the Longan prospect with a 35% stake in license 003. Partners are Phillips Petroleum Europe Exploration with 30%, Enterprise Oil Exploration 20%, and Veba Oil & Gas Faroes 15%.