Statoil finds more oil in North Sea

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Norwegian state-controlled oil company Statoil announced Tuesday that its latest discovery in the North Sea can be even bigger than officials thought when it was first made public earlier this month. It could end up as one of the 10 largest oil discoveries ever on the Norwegian continental shelf.

The drilling rig Transocean Leader at work on the Aldous South field. PHOTO: Harald Pettersen / Statoil

The new discovery at the Aldous Major South project now has “confirmed communication” with the Avaldsnes project at Utsirahøyden in the North Sea, Statoil reported. That means that the amount of oil and oil equivalents flowing from the site could be as much as triple that first estimated.

When Statoil first reported its Aldous discovery it estimated it would yield between 200 million and 400 million barrels of oil equivalents. Now Statoil says the amount, combined with Avaldsnes, could be as much as 1.2 billion barrels.

“Aldous/Avaldsnes is a giant oil discovery,” said Tim Dodson, Statoil’s executive vice president in charge of oil exploration, noting that Statoil’s calculations indicate it could land on the top-10 list of all oil discoveries on the Norwegian continental shelf.

“Norway has not seen a similar oil discovery since the mid-1980s,” Dobson added.

Statoil owns 40 percent of the two fields, which now appear capable of yielding far more oil than even the Skrugard discovery in the Barents Sea announced earlier this year. The Aldous/Avaldsnes discovery also marks the third time this year that Statoil has announced discoveries bigger than 250 million barrels of oil equivalents.

The Skrugard field is estimated to yield around 250 million barrels, while the Peregrino Sør field off Brazil, in which Statoil has a major stake, is likely to yield between 150 million and 300 million barrels.

The Aldous Major South well was drilled by the rig Transocean Leader, owned by the Houston-based company that’s poised to take over Norwegian rig firm Aker Drilling. The rig will now start drilling a well on the neighbouring Aldous Major North, to determine if the oil reserves in the area may be even bigger.

There’s been repeated concern in Norway for years that the country’s oil fields may soon start drying up. Dodson, however, claimed the Aldous/Avaldsnes discovery is evidence that the Norwegian continental shelf remains attractive. He called the discoveries “a result of Statoil’s exploration strategy of prioritizing high-impact opportunities, while focusing on our established core areas.”

Views and News from Norway/Nina Berglund
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