Statoil to increase offshore frontier exploration drilling

Statoil plans to drill about 30 exploration wells in 2017, with more than half targeting prospects offshore Norway.

West Hercules drilling rig
West Hercules drilling rig

Offshore staff

STAVANGER, Norway – Statoil plans to drill about 30 exploration wells in 2017, around 30% more than last year, with more than half (16-18) targeting prospects offshore Norway.

Tim Dodson, executive vice president for Exploration, said the program would be balanced between proven, well-known basins and new frontier opportunities. However, drilling plans remain contingent on permitting, rig availability, and partner approvals.

Last year Statoil completed 23 exploration wells as operator and partner, including 14 offshore Norway. This program and associated licensing and seismic data acquisition came in below the originally forecast budget, thanks to efficiency improvements and favorable market conditions.

This year’s line-up includes five to seven exploration wells in theBarents Sea. Others in the Norwegian Sea and North Sea are designed to prove additional near-field volumes in order to prolong the productive lifetime of existing infrastructure and determine growth potential.

Targeted structures in theBarents Sea are in well-known plays in the Johan Castberg and Hoop/Wisting area, and frontier areas with greater geological uncertainty but also high impact potential.

“Following our take-over as operator for theCarcará discovery last summer,” Dodson added, “Brazil has become even more important in Statoil’s portfolio, not least on the exploration front. We are stepping up exploration also in the UK, with plans for three Statoil-operated exploration wells in 2017.”

Elsewhere, the company will participate in wells planned in established basins such as theUS Gulf of Mexico and in emerging frontier areas offshore Indonesia and Suriname.

01/04/2017

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