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Drilling on Snøhvit completed

February 8, 2006, 15:40 CET

The Polar Pioneer drilling rig completed drilling of the 10 Snøhvit wells in the Barents Sea on Tuesday 7 February. The drilling operations have been performed without any harmful discharges to the sea.

"The drilling campaign has on the whole been a success, and the wells have been drilled with great precision in terms of reservoir drainage," says Thor Bensvik, drilling and well manager for the Snøhvit project.

"We have drilled a total of 10 wells without any harmful discharges to the sea and within the original budget and schedule," he continues.

Polar Pioneer started drilling on Snøhvit in December 2004. Prior to the operation, the 20-year-old rig was modified to meet the environmental requirements of the discharge permit for drilling in the Barents Sea.

Compliance with the environmental requirements has been important to Statoil. The group has promoted the use and further development of new technology for this type of operation.

"We have achieved the good operational and environmental results through thorough planning of the work tasks beforehand and great commitment by the entire Snøhvit team during the execution," explains Mr Bensvik.

Polar Pioneer is now finishing the completion work on the wells. The rig will then clean and prepare nine of the wells for production and one well for carbon dioxide injection. This work is expected to be finished before the summer.

The first phase of the Snøhvit project covers the Snøhvit and Albatross fields, which lie about 140 kilometres north-west of Hammerfest in northern Norway. The wells will come on stream when the Hammerfest LNG plant at Melkøya is completed in 2007. Statoil is operator for the development and operation of the Snøhvit project.