Statoil has spudded an appraisal well on Alve. This small gas and condensate discovery in the Norwegian Sea lies close to the group's Norne field.
"We're hoping to establish that the field is considerably larger than has already been proven," Knut Chr Grindstad, exploration manager for the Halten/Nordland cluster, said. "In our view, there's a good chance that possible additional resources in Alve will be oil."
The partners must identify more oil or gas in the discovery if they are to achieve a profitable development, he explained.
Maturing and harnessing smaller fields close to existing infrastructure is also important goal for Statoil, Grindstad said.
TheWest Navigator drill ship (formerly West Navion) is scheduled to drill the Alve well over the next six weeks.
Once this appraisal is complete, the vessel will drill a further exploration well in the Halten/Nordland area.
Statoil has a 50% interest in Alve. The other owners are Shell 40% and Norsk Hydro with 10%.