Statoil was the most efficient drilling operator off north-western Europe last year, according to a survey by UK consultant Rushmore Associates.
Covering both rigs and platforms, the study of 26 oil companies found that Statoil wells advanced at an average speed of 86 metres per day, as against 75 metres for other operators.
The survey looked at such factors as daily progress and cost for 364 wells on the Norwegian, British, Danish and Dutch continental shelves.
It distinguished between primary – wildcat and appraisal – wells and production drilling, as well as between rigs and platforms.
The report shows that drilling off Norway is about 15 per cent more efficient than in the rest of these waters. Four of the five wells identified as the most efficient were drilled from Statoil's Statfjord C platform.
The group gets its highest overall score in that part of the study which embraces the Norwegian Sea and west of Shetland.
These waters experience particularly difficult weather conditions, and present drillers with many technical challenges.
Statoil's Åsgard field off mid-Norway has very deep wells, high pressure and temperatures, and demanding reservoir conditions, for instance.
And the group's Norne development further north features many wells with long horizontal sections.
The Rushmore study shows that Statoil is mastering these northern waters, with their combination of future opportunities and challenges, says Mads Grinrød, vice president for drilling and well operations.
And it demonstrates that the group has the ability to adopt advanced drilling technology.
He adds that Statoil's drilling contractors and service suppliers contribute to high levels of efficiency and good safety results.