"We're hoping to establish that the field is considerably larger than has already been proven," explains Knut Chr Grindstad, exploration manager for the Halten/Nordland cluster.
"In our view, there's a good chance that possible additional resources in Alve will be oil."
The partners must identify more oil or gas in the discovery if they are to achieve a profitable development, he explains.
Maturing and harnessing smaller fields located close to existing infrastructure is also important for Statoil, Mr Grindstad adds.
The Alve well is being drilled by the West Navigator drill ship, with six weeks assigned for the operation.
Once this appraisal has been completed, the vessel is due to drill a further exploration well in the Halten/Nordland area.
Statoil has a 50 percent interest in Alve. The other owners are Shell with 40 percent and Norsk Hydro with 10 percent.
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