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Exploring less off Norway

January 11, 1999, 08:00 CET

A 20 per cent cut has been made in Statoil's 1999 exploration budget off Norway compared with last year.

Steering committees in the various Norwegian licences with Statoil participation have so far approved 12 new exploration wells this year, including 10 operated by the group and two being carried out by partners. Five of the Statoil wells will be drilled from production platforms, and the rest from rigs.

The group's programme includes a first well on production licence 220 in the Lofoten area of the Norwegian Sea. Two Statoil-operated wells are currently under way.

One was spudded between Christmas and the New Year in PL 159's block 6507/3 south-west of Norne in the Norwegian Sea. The group's discovery of the Alve gas and condensate find in this area in 1990 put it on the track of Norne. BP Amoco also made an oil and gas discovery named Skarv in the block to the south of 6507/3.

A second well is being drilled on PL 193's Mats prospect in block 34/11 in the North Sea, which lies between Statoil's Kvitebjørn and Gullfaks Gamma finds. This well will be important for development plans on Kvitebjørn.

The group's exploration plans off Norway this year are evenly balanced between areas with little infrastructure and acreage close to existing installations.