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Norwegian  driller makes discovery of up to 130 million barrels of oil in the North Sea

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Statoil ASA, the world’s eleventh largest oil and gas company, announced the discovery of 130 million barrels worth of oil in the North Sea. The Norwegian oil and gas giant made the discovery in the Moray Firth basin, an area that’s seen its lowest exploration activity since the 1970s as a result of lower-cost higher-yield resources elsewhere.

“The results show that we made the right decision to sidetrack the well and this discovery proves that there could be significant remaining potential in this mature basin” said Jenny Morris in a statement from Statoil.

Statoil kicked off the search in July, this discovery at the Verbier sidetrack well being one part in a three-well exploration drilling campaign throughout the UK continental shelf. The other two wells proved unfruitful according to reports.

“Whilst the results of the other two exploration wells were disappointing, we are convinced of the remaining, high-value potential on the UK continental shelf and the Verbier result certainly gives us the confidence and determination to continue our exploration efforts” added Morris.

This find signals a new confidence in the North Sea. Both BP and Royal Dutch Shell now say they are optimistic about the potential in the region after having deeply cutting costs in the area since crude prices crashed. Exploration investments in the region fell to $11.8 billion dollars this year down from almost $19.5 billion in 2014.

Deirde Michie, chief executive of Oil and Gas UK said that the discovery was “another signal of confidence in the future of the UK Continental Shelf and the kind of development that should further persuade investors of the benefit of putting their money into this basin, which still holds billions of barrels of oil and gas.”

Further testing will have to be carried out by Statoil and its partners to confirm the true economically recoverable amount, which could be worth upwards of $6.5 billion dollars.

Article written by HEI contributor Kevin Abbott.

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