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Exploration well in Barents Sea

January 13, 2006, 17:55 CET

Drilling began on an exploration well on Statoil's Uranus prospect in the Barents Sea from the Eirik Raude rig on 13 January.

Expected to take about 70 days, the well is to be drilled to a total depth of about 4,000 metres.

Statoil has previously made a small discovery in the same area.

"This well is part of our work to investigate the further potential in this area," says Ørjan Birkeland, Statoil's Barents Sea exploration manager.

The Uranus prospect is located 120 kilometres from land in block 7227/11 in production licence 202.

Once Uranus is completed, Eirik Raude will move to the Norwegian Sea where it will drill an exploration well on the Statoil-operated Edvarda prospect.