Statoil reported Monday that it has made an oil discovery at the Snilehorn prospect in the Norwegian Sea, some nine miles northeast of the Njord field.
Statoil added that Snilehorn is the third near-field discovery in the Norwegian Sea in three months. The firm said that exploration well 6407/8-6 and sidetrack well 6407/8-6A have proven several oil columns in formations dating from the Jurassic period.
The main wellbore has also proven oil at a deeper level in reservoir rocks of Triassic age, which Statoil said was probably a Grey Beds formation. Further data analysis will clarify the age of this oil-bearing formation, the firm added.
The estimated volume of the discovery is between 55 and 100 million barrels of recoverable oil. Statoil described the oil as being light and of high quality.
Gro G. Haatvedt, Statoil's senior vice president for exploration on the Norwegian Continental Shelf, commented in a company statement:
"We are very pleased with the results of our near-field exploration program in the Norwegian Sea this year.
"In three months we have made three new discoveries in the Norne, Åsgard and Njord areas, proving a total of 86 to 166 million barrels of recoverable oil equivalent. These are high value barrels that allow us to extend the production life of our installations."
Junior explorer Faroe Petroleum, which has a 7.5-percent stake in Snilehorn, also welcomed the news. Faroe Chief Executive Graham Stewart commented in a company statement:
"The Snilehorn discovery has the potential to add new production at a low cost through a tie-back via the nearby Hyme field facilities, in which Faroe also participates with a 7.5-percent interest.
Commenting on the discovery, analysts London-based investment bank Westhouse Securities said:
"The estimated gross volume of the discovery is in the range of 57 to 101 million barrels of recoverable light oil of high quality… Compared to the pre-drill mean estimate of 50 million barrels of oil equivalent, results suggest the discovery is larger than expected."
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