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Quick start on Urd

October 26, 1999, 10:00 CEST

The first wildcat has been spudded on Statoil's promising Urd prospect off Norway in an unusually fast start-up on acreage awarded as recently as June.

This "North Sea" licensing round made the group operator for production licence 245, covering blocks 25/3 and 25/6 about 40 kilometres north-east of Norsk Hydro's Heimdal field.

These blocks were among the most attractive on offer in the round, reports Knut G Røssland, vice president for new opportunities in Exploration & Production Norway.

In his view, Statoil's application for the acreage succeeded because it presented a unified and detailed exploration strategy.

"This represents a promising prospect, and the first well is very important for us," he adds. "We're hoping to strike oil, and large volumes could be involved if we do."

The wildcat was spudded on 21 October from Byford Dolphin, and is due to take three weeks to reach the presumed reservoir at a depth of roughly 2,000 metres.

Statoil has a 30 per cent interest in the licence, with the state's direct financial interest (SDFI) and Mobil holding 25 per cent each and Saga Petroleum 20 per cent.