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Statoil stepping up in the Arctic

Statoil is stepping up its Arctic activities and will drill nine wells during a non-stop 2013 Norwegian Barents exploration campaign. The company plans to meet development challenges here by tripling its Arctic technology research budget.

 

Statoil’s exploration experience in the Barents is already extensive. Of the 94 exploration wells drilled in the Norwegian Barents Sea so far, Statoil has been involved in 89. Nine more Statoil-operated wells are on their way here next year.

“After our Skrugard and Havis discoveries we still see attractive opportunities here,” says Statoil Exploration executive vice president Tim Dodson.

“This is a less challenging area, as the Norwegian Barents is one of the only Arctic areas with a year-round ice-free zone. We also see the possibility of utilising knowledge gained here for Arctic prospects elsewhere later on – just like we’ve already done with Snøhvit.”

Statoil will start drilling in Nunatak in the Skrugard area in December, and will drill and complete four wells in this area over a six-month period.

“These wells are time critical, as any additional resources will make the Skrugard development even more robust,” says Dodson.

The campaign will then continue with the drilling of two-three wells in the Hoop frontier exploration area further north in the Barents in the summer of 2013. These will be the northernmost wells ever drilled in Norway.

The 2013 Barents drilling campaign finishes in the most mature province of the Barents: the Hammerfest basin. Statoil will carry out growth exploration close to the existing Snøhvit and Goliat discoveries here.

Arctic drilling unit

In addition to increasing its drilling activities, Statoil has created a technology road map to prepare for activities in even harsher Arctic areas.
This includes:

  • A tripling of the current Arctic research budget – from NOK 80 million (in 2012) to NOK 250 million (in 2013)
  • A research cruise to north east Greenland in September
  • The maturing of an Arctic drill unit concept

Some of the technology highlights include work to allow for cost-effective 3D seismic for exploration prospect evaluation in ice, and the continuing development of a tailor-made, Arctic drill unit.

The work on the future drilling unit is based on Statoil’s experience with developing specialised category rigs for the Norwegian continental shelf (NCS).

The unit will be one that can operate in a wide range of water depths across the Arctic, and will involve integrated operations in drifting ice.

Functions here are to include a management system to reduce ice impact, an optimised drilling package for faster drilling and increased rig availability, and solutions to ensure that the rig maintains its position. At present no robust solution for dynamic positioning dedicated for ice operation exists.

“When we see a technology need, we try to fill the gap ourselves. We have now directed our strategic focus towards developing technology for exploration and production in ice. A new dedicated unit has been established to solve these challenges,” says Statoil Technology, Projects and Drilling executive vice president Margareth Øvrum.

Capacity is key

“We’ve secured a five-year contract for Seadrill‘s West Hercules drilling rig. The rig is currently being prepared for Arctic conditions, and can be used to drill consecutively in the region for years to come,” Dodson says.

Broad exploration experience in the Barents Sea and available rig capacity make Statoil well prepared for the 22nd licence round on the NCS. Applications are due in early December, while the awarding of new licences will take place in spring 2013. Seventy-two blocks in the Barents will be on offer.

“The Skrugard discovery has reignited interest in the Barents. A number of major companies that had left the area will be looking to make their way back in. The competition will be fierce, but we’ve built up a strong track record here, and our application will reflect this,” Dodson says.

Source

Major Oil And Gas Finds In northern Europe

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Written by: EurActiv
January 10, 2012

Norway’s Statoil has made a second big oil discovery in the Barents Sea in less than a year and predicted more discoveries to come in the region.

The new oil find, called Havis, may hold between 200 million and 300 million barrels of oil equivalent (boe). The new find combined with the previous and nearby discovery, Skrugard, could provide between 400 million and 600 million boe, Statoil said yesterday (9 January).

“This is extremely positive,” said John Olaisen, an analyst at the Carnegie investment banking firm in Oslo. “This is an important strategic asset in a new oil region, so this is very good … One could expect more oil finds in the region after this.”

A Shell and ExxonMobil joint venture, Nam, has also announced what it says is the largest on-shore gas field discovery in the Netherlands since 1995, near Ee, in Friesland.

Production at the South Metslawier site, which is estimated to hold 4 billion cubic metres of reserves, is expected to begin in the summer, and last until 2015.

The Norwegian find in the Barents Sea, followed a carve-up of the territory in 2010 between Norway and Russia.

The Arctic region holds 25% of the world’s hydrocarbons, according to the US Geological Survey.

Norway is the world’s eighth-largest oil exporter and the second-largest for gas, which has seen declining oil output since 2001, following a string of offshore discoveries made over the past year.

Finding oil in the Norwegian part of the Barents Sea had until recently proven to be very difficult.

Over the past 30 years oil companies have drilled 92 exploration wells but only a handful have proven to be hits – Skrugard, Statoil’s Snoehvit gas field, Eni’s Goliat oilfield and Total’s Norvarg discovery.

Statoil now expects to strike more oil in the region around Havis.”We believe we now understand (the geology) and have cracked the code in this area,” the company’s chief executive Helge Lund said.

“We think we will be able to make additional finds in this licence in the future,” he said.

Production at Havis is expected to begin before the end of the decade.

The partners in the latest oil find are Statoil (50%), Italy’s Eni (30%) and Norwegian state-owned firm Petoro (20%).

Original article

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