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Boreriggen West Hercules under boring i Barentshavet. (Foto: Ole Jørgen Bratland)

Statoil plans to drill 20-25 exploration wells on the Norwegian continental shelf (NCS) in 2014, of which around two-thirds will be Statoil-operated.

"Statoil's exploration success rate on the Norwegian continental shelf has been over 70% the last five years, compared to an industry average of 49% (*).

This confirms that our exploration strategy is paying off," says Gro G. Haatvedt, senior vice president for NCS exploration in Statoil.

Statoil has a diversified exploration portfolio on the NCS targeting both growth prospects, opportunities in frontier areas and selected prospects in mature areas which can be tied into existing infrastructure.

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Gro G. Haatvedt, senior vice president for NCS exploration in Statoil.

"We believe that our competence and experience throughout the value chain give us an advantage when prioritising the right prospects, performing efficient exploration and ensuring value creation," says Haatvedt.

Barents Sea campaign continues

Statoil will continue the exploration campaign in the Barents Sea in 2014 with 5-7 new wells. The company will test the potential in the Hoop area and continue exploration drilling around the Johan Castberg discoveries (Skrugard and Havis).

Statoil is a partner in the OMV-operated Wisting Central discovery in PL537 announced in September, which opened a new oil play in the Hoop area. During Q2-Q3 of 2014 Statoil will drill the Atlantis and Apollo prospects in PL615, approximately 50 kilometres north of PL537.

"The Apollo well will target the same geological formation as the Wisting Central well. We have a solid understanding of the subsurface and are well prepared to conduct safe and secure operations in this area of the NCS," says Haatvedt.

In the Johan Castberg area the Skavl prospect is currently being drilled, followed by the Kramsnø and Drivis prospects late 2013/early 2014.

"We still believe we can find more oil in the Johan Castberg area to make the field development project more robust. Currently we are evaluating several prospects around Johan Castberg for drilling in 2014," says Haatvedt.

Hunting high-value barrels

"In the North Sea our plan is to further explore around the King Lear discovery and continue our hunt for barrels in the greater Utsira High area. We will also pursue our exploration effort around existing infrastructure in order to discover timely high-value barrels for the new fast-track developments," says Haatvedt.

In the Johan Sverdrup/greater Utsira High area, the Geitungen appraisal will be drilled in PL265 at the turn of the year and Statoil will also drill the Tastaveden prospect in PL628.

In 2012 Statoil made a significant gas and condensate discovery in the King Lear prospect. In 2014-2015 two new wells will be drilled in PL146/PL333. The Romeo prospect will test the potential north of King Lear, while the Julius prospect will both appraise the King Lear discovery and test additional potential south of the find. This is a high temperature and high pressure (HTHP) area, which Statoil has a strong record in handling.

In the Norwegian Sea the focus next year will be to mature the deep-water exploration campaign in the Aasta Hansteen area which is planned to start in 2015.

"We are confident there are new, exciting opportunities to be explored on the Norwegian continental shelf going forward," concludes Haatvedt.

(*) Norwegian Petroleum Directorate data the last five years. Statoil's discovery rate as operator versus industry's discovery rate where Statoil is not included.