Norwegian state oil company Statoil intends to drill just as many exploration wells in the Barents Sea next summer as it did this summer, even though its expensive and demanding attempts didn’t meet expectations.
Statoil’s summer exploration program in the Arctic was disappointing. Its latest effort on the Korpfjell field close to the new border Norway shares with Russia in the eastern Barents, was, too, according to an announcement from the company earlier this week.
“We are of course very disappointed over Korpfjell,” stated Jez Averty, Statoil’s exploration director on the Norwegian and British continental shelfs. Statoil shares fell 2 percent as a result while its partner in the field, Lundin, fell 7 percent.
Statoil nonetheless considers the Barents “the new fronteir” and plans more drilling next summer despite protests from environmental and climate activists. Averty said Statoil “has ambitions” for a similar exploration program in 2018.
Truls Gulowsen of Greenpeace still hopes to stop it, and was cheered by Statoil’s lack of new oil discoveries. “This is great news,” Gulowsen told newspaper Dagens Næringsliv (DN). “Even though it’s sad that Statoil has wasted humdreds of millions of the taxpayers’ money (because the state subsidizes as much as 78 percent of exploration costs), we hope these dry wells will make it easier for the court to invalidate licenses for the 24th round of exploration.” Greenpeace is behind a major lawsuit against the state that demands a halt to further exploration on the grounds the climate can’t tolerate more oil.