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Moves in Nigeria

December 15, 1998, 08:45 CET

A new exploration well has been spudded off Nigeria by Statoil, which has also sold its holding in another Nigerian block.

Work began on the new Nnwa-1 well in about 1,300 metres of water in offshore block 218 on 10 December. Drilling is being done by the M G Hulme Jr rig, which belongs to Reading & Bates.

Meanwhile, Statoil and BP have sold their interests - 20 per cent each - in exploration licence 210 to Allied Energy. The two alliance partners farmed into the acreage in 1993, and a small find has since been made there.

The block 218 well, which lies about 150 kilometres west of Port Harcourt, is the seventh to be drilled by Statoil off Nigeria. Five earlier exploration wells have been completed in about 500-800 metres of water, while the Atabila-1 well was in deeper water on block 217.

Nnwa-1 will be important for Statoil. This point was made by Rolf Magne Larsen, senior vice president for International Exploration & Production, at a press conference last week on the group's international investment.

When the well has been completed, Statoil and its partners will meet to review whether to continue exploration.