Surprise well near Gullfaks
An appraisal well completed by Statoil in North Sea block 34/10 on 20 September unexpectedly identified no traces of oil or gas.
Drilled to delineate the Gamma structure in production licence 050, this 34/10-42S duster is about 18 kilometres south of Statoil's Gullfaks field and close to its Kvitebjørn discovery.
Three earlier exploration wells on Gamma have all proven gas, and the structure lies in the same geological model as neighbouring Kvitebjørn.
It has accordingly been perceived as an important source of supplementary reserves for a possible Kvitebjørn development.
A new survey of Gamma must be completed by Statoil before the consequences of this surprising outcome on the development of the area can be assessed, says Kjell Helle.
He is vice president for the Tampen area of the northern North Sea - which includes such Statoil fields as Gullfaks and Statfjord - in Exploration & Production Norway.
"However, it's clear that Gamma doesn't contain the volumes of gas we had been expecting."
Statoil shot more three-dimensional seismic over the whole Kvitebjørn-Gamma area last year. Gamma well 34/11-4 was drilled in April.
Work on a Kvitebjørn development - both above and below ground - will continue during the autumn and winter, says Mr Helle.
"The aim is to recommend this field to Norway's Gas Supply Committee for possible inclusion in the next round of allocations to gas sales contracts, with a possible start to production in 2004."