Statoil has committed to drilling three new exploration wells in North Sea frontier areas as part of the latest offshore licensing awards.
The 29th offshore awards were announced today, the first in nearly two decades to focus solely on relatively unexplored areas.
Norwegian operator Statoil was one of the big winners, walking away with six of the 25 licences awarded.
The well are to be drilled on the East Shetland platform.
The five licences awarded to Statoil as the operator are part of a partnership with BP Exploration.
The sixth licence relates to a partnership with Esso Exploration, who are the operator, and involves reprocessing 2D seismic data.
A Statoil spokesman said: “We are very pleased with the awards in the 29th round, which strengthens our position on the UK shelf and shows our belief in the exploration potential in the UK.
We were awarded six licences, of which five are as operator. Three of the licences include a firm well commitment.
“The awards are a result of a strategic decision by us to explore in prolific, but mature basins, where we have conducted comprehensive regional work and invested in seismic. In addition to this, the awards also include more frontier options such as the Rockall Basin.
“These awards complement our existing portfolio, where we already have plans to drill three exploration wells over the course of 2017. In addition our Mariner field development is due to come on stream in 2018.”
BP has been contacted for comment.