10/05/2012 09:04:00

Statoil To Drill Barents Sea; Johan Sverdrup To Produce In 2018

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By Kjetil Malkenes Hovland

Of DOW JONES NEWSWIRES

OSLO -(Dow Jones)- Norwegian oil giant Statoil ASA (STO) said Thursday it is launching an exploration drilling campaign in the Skrugard area of the Barents Sea, and also revealed that the first oil from Johan Sverdrup, a huge North Sea discovery, is expected to be produced in the fourth quarter of 2018.

Statoil said it would follow up the Barents Sea discoveries Havis and Skrugard with exploration drilling in four new prospects in the same area, together with partners Eni Norge AS and the state-owned petroleum company Petoro AS, commencing late 2012, and then completed by the spring or summer of 2013.

The Barents Sea, situated off the northern coast of Norway, is said to contain a vast amount of as yet untouched oil and gas deposits, and in July last year Russia and Norway finally agreed exploration boundaries, splitting the disputed part of the region into two equally sized areas. The deal followed decades of negotiations between the two sides.

"We are very satisfied with our recent exploration achievements in the Barents Sea. In less than a year, we have made two substantial oil discoveries in PL532, proving 400-600 million barrels of recoverable oil," said Knut Harald Nygard, Statoil vice president for exploration in the Skrugard area, adding that the company sees further upside in the area with prospects of the same type as Skrugard and Havis.

The partners in the Johan Sverdrup discovery in the North Sea said Thursday they planned to select a concept for the development in fourth quarter 2013, submit a plan of development to the Norwegian government in the fourth quarter 2014, and produce the first oil from the field in the fourth quarter 2018.

The field will produce until 2050, the partners said.

The partners in the Johan Sverdrup production licenses, PL265 and PL501, signed an agreement in March, where they chose Statoil as the operator for the development.

Lundin Norway AS is the operator of PL501 and has a 40% interest, while partner Statoil Petroleum AS holds 40% and Maersk Oil Norway AS has a 20% stake.

Statoil ASA is the operator of PL265 with a 40% stake, while state-owned Petoro has 30% and Det norske oljeselskap ASA has 20%.

In the Barents Sea production licenses PL532 and PL608, Statoil is the operator with a 50% stake in each,. Eni Norge AS holds 30% and Petoro AS 20%.

At 0722 GMT, Statoil shares traded 1% higher at NOK150.10. Lundin traded 0.1% higher at SEK141.60.

-By Kjetil Malkenes Hovland, Dow Jones Newswires: +47 902 27 908; kjetilmalkenes.hovland@dowjones.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

May 10, 2012 04:04 ET (08:04 GMT)

Copyright (c) 2012 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.

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