Statoil plans to drill around 30 exploration wells in 2017, an increase of around 30 per cent compared to 2016.
More than half of the wells will be drilled on the Norwegian Continental Shelf (NCS).
“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,” Tim Dodson, executive vice president for exploration in Statoil, said.
“This allows us to firm up a strong drilling programme for 2017, totalling around 30 exploration wells as operator and partner. The upcoming well programme is balanced between proven, well known basins and new frontier opportunities,” said Dodson, underlining that the exploration drilling plans are dependent on permitting, rig availability and partner approvals.
In 2016, Statoil completed a total of 23 exploration wells as operator and partner – 14 of them on the NCS. The total exploration activity was completed well below the original forecast due to efficiency improvements and market effects.
In Norway, the five to seven well exploration campaign in the Barents Sea is at the core of the activity plan. In the Norwegian Sea and the North Sea, the ambition is to prove near field volumes to prolong the productive lifetime of existing infrastructure and determine the growth potential.
In total, Statoil expects 16-18 NCS exploration wells to be completed in 2017. New discoveries are crucial to counteract decline on the NCS.
“The Barents Sea has yielded several of Norway’s most significant oil discoveries in recent years,” Dodson added. “We are looking forward to testing 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.”
Internationally, Statoil’s 2017 exploration drilling activity will comprise growth opportunities in basins where Statoil is already established with discoveries and producing fields, as well as new frontier opportunities.
“Following our takeover 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.