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First Statoil well off Venezuela

January 4, 2005, 15:30 CET

The first wildcat to be drilled by operator Statoil in block 4, part of the Plataforma Deltana area of the Venezuelan continental shelf, was spudded on 1 January from the Sovereign Explorer rig.

This Ballena 1-X well is the first of three which the group is committed to drilling in this region off the east coast of the Latin American country.

If it proves successful, Statoil is considering drilling one to three appraisal wells before a possible field could be declared commercial.

The group is the sole licensee for block 4, which was awarded in February 2003 and covers about 1,435 square kilometres with water depths of 200-800 metres.

Statoil is also a partner in two other Venezuelan production licences, holding 15 per cent of the land-based Sincor heavy crude project in the Orinoco Belt and 27 per cent of the LL 652 oil field in Lake Maracaibo.