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Activity up on the NCS

August 21, 2006, 14:30 CEST
Statoil has substantially expanded its exploration and development operations on the Norwegian continental shelf (NCS) over the past two years, and is now well placed to maintain a high level of activity in coming years.”


This statement was made by chief executive Helge Lund said at a press conference on 21 August ahead of the Offshore Northern Seas (ONS) conference and exhibition.

The group is currently pursuing roughly 15 projects which could be sanctioned for development on the NCS in 2006 and 2007.

A renewed commitment to these waters was one of Helge Lund’s principal messages when he held his first press conference as Statoil chief executive ahead of Stavanger’s ONS oil show in 2004.

“Since then, we have approved 13 projects on the NCS and stepped up our exploration programme considerably,” says Mr Lund today.

“We have unquestionably made a strong contribution to the activity and optimism which currently characterise these waters.”

He notes that capacity in the oil industry is under pressure on a global basis, and that this is also presenting challenges for Statoil.

“Through good collaboration with important suppliers, however, and an active commitment to recruitment and expertise development, we have worked well to secure the capacity we need to implement our ambitious plans both in Norway and internationally."

“As operator and partner, we are working on roughly 15 new projects on the NCS which could be sanctioned for development this year and next.”

On its Capital Markets Day in June, Statoil presented an ambition of maintaining production from the NCS at one million barrels of oil equivalent per day up to 2015.

This means that the group must maintain an aggressive commitment embracing the whole NCS, affirms Terje Overvik, executive vice president for Exploration & Production Norway.

“We see an increased potential for finding oil in the Barents Sea after the successful appraisal well on Goliat early this year,” he says.

“The Snøhvit partnership in the same area has also resolved to conduct studies into the possibilities for recovering oil from this field.

“In that context, planning work will be initiated on a possible appraisal well to secure better information about the oil zone in the field.”

He adds that Statoil is currently drilling an appraisal well on its Tornerose prospect east of Snøhvit. This forms part of efforts to establish a resource base for possible expansion of the gas liquefaction plant at Melkøya in northern Norway.

The Norwegian Sea has been an important growth area for Statoil in recent years. Infrastructure built for the Åsgard field has facilitated many new field developments and opportunities.

“A decade ago, Heidrun was the only field we operated in the Norwegian Sea,” Mr Overvik notes. “Today, we’ve also added Norne, Urd, Åsgard, Mikkel and Kristin to our portfolio in the Halten-Nordland area.

“We’re also operating the Tyrihans development and are a partner in Hydro’s Ormen Lange development. We’re working on several opportunities for new projects which will maintain the Norwegian Sea as an important growth area.”

In that context, he also points to Statoil’s acquisition of BP’s holding in the deepwater Luva discovery west of Bodø. The group is now the operator with a 75% interest and is planning to drill two new exploration wells in nearby prospects in 2007-08.

“We also have a high level of activity in the North Sea,” Mr Overvik adds. “This includes an extensive exploration programme, a continuous commitment to improved recovery and the best possible utilisation of producing fields and installations, and an aggressive plan for maturing new development projects."