Statoil has signed participation agreements for exploration drilling on three prospects in the Gulf of Mexico.

Statoil has entered into an agreement with BP regarding participation in the drilling of an exploration well in Walker Ridge block 544 on the Tucker prospect. Drilling of the well, which is operated by BP, has started. Statoil has a 20 per cent interest in the prospect.

On the Grand Cayman prospect, Statoil has agreed to participate with the Kerr-McGee Oil & Gas Corporation and Newfield Exploration Company on the drilling of a well in Garden Banks block 561. Statoil will have a 25 per cent interest in the well, which is operated by Kerr-McGee and due to be spudded in July.

Kerr-McGee, Dominion Exploration & Production and Statoil are parties to a joint operating agreement covering drilling of a deepwater exploration well in Atwater Valley block 140 on the Claymore prospect. Statoil has a 25 per cent interest in this well, with Kerr-McGee as operator. Drilling has already commenced.

Last year, Statoil acquired Encana's deepwater portfolio in the Gulf of Mexico, consisting of 239 blocks with an average interest of 40 per cent. The blocks cover an area of 5,665 square kilometres.