Statoil today confirmed it would increase its exploration drilling by 30% in 2017.
The Norwegian operator has plans to drill 30 exploration wells. The strategy includes three new wells in the UK North Sea.
However, the firm said the Barents Sea would remain the focal point for its exploration activity, where it plans to drill between five and seven well exploration campaigns.
“Taking advantage of our own improvements and changed market conditions, we have been able to get more wells, more acreage and more seismic data for our exploration investments in later years,” said Tim Dodson, executive vice president for Exploration in Statoil.
“This allows us to firm up a strong drilling program for 2017, totalling around 30 exploration wells as operator and partner. The upcoming well program is balanced between proven, well known basins and new frontier opportunities.
“The Barents Sea has yielded several of Norway’s most significant oil discoveries in recent years. We are looking forward to test new targets, both in the relatively well known geology around in the Johan Castberg and Hoop/Wisting area, as well as some new frontier opportunities with greater geological uncertainty but also high impact potential. This campaign can provide us with crucial information about the long term future of the Norwegian shelf.”
On the Norwegian Continental Shelf, Statoil will drill between 16 and 18 exploration wells.
The firm will also be looking to Brazil and the Gulf of Mexico.
“Following our take-over as operator for the Carcara discovery last summer, Brazil has become even more important in Statoil’s portfolio, not least on the exploration front. We are stepping up exploration also in the UK, with plans for three Statoil operated exploration wells in 2017,” said Dodson.
It will also drill onshore in Turkey and Russia.
“The 2017 exploration plans demonstrate our long term commitment to the NCS, while we continue to position the company for global opportunities. If everything goes to plan, we will this year have exploration drilling activity in 11 countries on five continents,” added Dodson.
In 2016, Statoil completed a total of 23 exploration wells as operator and partner – 14 of them on the NCS.