Latest oil find boosts stocks

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Norwegian oil company Det norske oljeselskap was among those seeing even more investor interest on Monday, after state oil company Statoil confirmed the discovery of more oil at the Geitungen prospect in the North Sea. Det norske and Lundin of Sweden are Statoil’s commercial partners in the field, which now is believed to contain as many as 270 million barrels of extractable oil equivalents.

The drilling rig Ocean Vanguard was used to find the oil on Geitungen, and got a visit on Monday from Statoil executives with journalists in tow. PHOTO: Statoil/Harald Pettersen

Erik Haugane, managing director of Det norske, told reporters on Monday that Statoil alerted both partners two weeks ago that Geitungen was likely to yield major resources. The companies had since waited for the results of analysis, which were released coincidentally or not just as around 50,000 oil industry players are gathering in Statoil’s hometown of Stavanger for the large Offshore Northern Seas (ONS) exhibition this week.

“This is very good, fantastic,” Haugane told website e24 after being told himself that Geitungen holds between 140 million and 270 millions barrels of oil equivalents. The value of his company’s stock jumped nearly 5 percent on the news, while Statoil climbed as well. The price of North Sea crude also rose, bringing more smiles to oil industry executives.

The Geitungen field lies close to the Johan Sverdrup field (formerly known as Aldous/Avaldsnes and renamed just last spring). It was the site just last year of one of Norway’s biggest oil discoveries ever, and now neighboring areas of the North Sea are yielding new oil as well. An added advantage is that they’re “in Statoil’s backyard,” as one executive put it earlier this year: Relatively close to the mainland and not in terribly deep water with established infrastructure nearby, so thus more easily accessible. The Aldous, now Sverdrup, field with up to 1.5 billion barrels was said to help extend Norway’s oil era.

With the confirmation of even more oil out there, Statoil sees more exploration potential as well. “This also shows we’re delivering on our strategy to revitalize the Norwegian continental shelf by finding new, valuable resources,” Gro Haatvedt, exploration director for Statoil in Norway. Statoil is also continuing its international expansion, but has struck oil and gas repeatedly off Norway during the past two years.

Statoil is the operator of the license at Geitungen and has a 40 percent stake in it, while Det norske has 20 percent and Lundin 10 percent. The Norwegian state, through Petoro AS, has a 30 percent stake.

SEE ALSO:  Statoil boss now ‘more shy’

Views and News from Norway/Nina Berglund

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