Statoil’s Barents Sea wildcat well has returned a gas discovery.
The exploration area in the Pingvin prospect about 65km northwest of Johan Castberg is thought to contain between 30 and 120 million barrels of recoverable oil equivalents.
The discovery well, drilled by Transocean Spitsbergen, proved a 15m gas column in the well path.
The Norwegian operator heralded the find a “play opener” in what has historically been an unexplored frontier.
Vice president of exploration in the Barents and Norwegian Sea, Dan Tuppen, said: “Pingvin is the first well drilled in PL713 – a large frontier area northwest of Johan Castberg awarded in the 22nd concession round. For a discovery in this area to be commercially viable it needs to be an oil accumulation of a significant size. A gas discovery does not have commercial value at present.
“On the positive side, it is encouraging that the first well drilled in this unexplored area has proven hydrocarbons in sandstones. This indicates that we have both a reservoir and a working hydrocarbon system in the area, and creates a good basis for further subsurface work in the licence.
“The partnership drilled Pingvin just 15 months after the acreage award. The chosen well location allowed us to clarify the hydrocarbon volume in the structure with one very efficiently executed exploration well.”
Statoil retains a 40% operator’s interest In the find. Partners RN Nordic Oil, North Energy and Edison International Norway all own 20% each.