Statoil expects to spend around $3 billion as it completes approximately 40 wells during 2012, it announced Wednesday, which means the Norwegian oil major's total exploration activity level will be similar to that achieved last year.
The Oslo-listed firm, which also announced its fourth-quarter results, said that total organic capital expenditure for 2012 is estimated to be around $17 billion, including expenditures relating to new assets from its acquisition of Brigham Exploration Company in December 2011.
Statoil said that it boosted its fourth-quarter net operating income by 42 percent to $10.5 billion (NOK 60.7 billion) compared with 4Q 2010. For 2011 as a whole, net operating income came in at $36.7 billion (NOK 211.8 billion) compared with $23.8 billion (NOK 137.3 billion) in 2010.
Last year the firm completed 41 exploration wells, 22 of which were discoveries.
"Statoil delivered record financial results, further improved safety and made important strategic progress in 2011," said Statoil CEO Helge Lund.
"We delivered strong exploration results in 2011, adding more than one billion barrels to Statoil's resource base. Making high impact discoveries in the mature North Sea as well as in the Barents Sea reaffirms the potential of the Norwegian continental shelf."
The firm also achieved a reserve replacement ration of 1.17 during 2011, it added.
Apart from its acquisition of Brigham, Statoil said that key events since the end of 3Q 2011 included the optimization of its portfolio through the divestment of the Gassled ownership share and the streamlining of its assets in the Norwegian Continental Shelf through the farm-down of three assets through the firm's agreement with Centrica.
The firm also highlighted the 4Q 2011 award of the operatorship for pre-salt blocks 38 and 39, and a partner position in blocks 22, 25 and 40 in the Kwanza basin in Angola.
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