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Good exploration year

April 6, 2000, 10:00 CEST

Seven substantial oil and gas discoveries were made in 1999 with Statoil participation, including five outside Norway.

"It's encouraging to note our involvement in such major finds, particularly ones made internationally," says exploration vice president Jan Vollset in Technology.

"Exploration operations in 1999 laid a good basis for replacing the reserves produced during the year."

He notes that the group maintained its overall reserve base compared with 1998. In other words, oil and gas added through new discoveries, upgrading fields and transfers of licence interests corresponded to the amounts produced.

Statoil was involved in 22 exploration wells outside Norway, and operated three of them. One of the latter yielded an interesting discovery off Nigeria, where the group has a 54 per cent interest.

The promising Shah Deniz gas field was proven off Azerbaijan last year with BP Amoco as operator and a 25.5 per cent interest for Statoil.

And a number of encouraging finds were made during 1999 in two deepwater blocks off Angola. The group has 13.3 pr cent in each of these.

Statoil was also involved in hydrocarbon discoveries off Britain and Ireland.

The group participated in 20 wells drilled on the Norwegian continental shelf in 1999, where five new discoveries were made last year.

These included two operated by Statoil – the Idun gas field in the Norwegian Sea, and the Beta West oil structure near Yme in the North Sea.

Statoil has also acquired the Erlend discovery on the Halten Bank in the Norwegian Sea, made last year by the former Saga Petroleum company.

Production from fields operated by Statoil is set to decline in future, while output from partner-operated developments will rise.

According to Mr Vollset, the challenge now is to secure new operatorships for the group.