Technology, Persistence Key to Statoil's Offshore Canada Success

Technology, Persistence Key to Statoil's Offshore Canada Success

Statoil will update its resource estimate for its oil discoveries offshore eastern Canada later this fall, said Tim Dodson, executive vice president of exploration for Statoil, at a media briefing in Houston Wednesday.  

The company announced Tuesday that it made a third oil discovery in the Flemish Pass offshore Newfoundland. Dodson would not name a specific timeline for the update, noting that new seismic and appraisal drilling would likely be needed. The company had just retrieved a core sample from the Bay du Nord prospect. “

Based on the data we have so far, we essentially are 100 percent sure” we have made an oil discovery, Dodson added.

Statoil’s proprietary seismic techniques allowed the company to see the structure of the Bay du Nord discovery. Prior to applying its own in-house software, the Bay du Nord structure was really hard to see, not giving the company the confidence to drill. By using this software, Statoil was able to clearly map the structural and see the prospect’s potential, said Erik Finnstrom, senior vice president of exploration for Statoil in North America, during the press briefing.

Advanced seismic data acquisition, processing and interpretation techniques have enabled Statoil to pursue more complex offshore plays. The North Sea for years served as a laboratory for the development of 3D seismic technology; today, the Gulf of Mexico serves as a new lab for demonstrating seismic techniques, Dodson told reporters.

Dodson also credits Statoil’s success in the Flemish Pass offshore eastern Canada to the company’s persistence in pursuing exploration in the area when other companies opted not to move forward. The company leased up all available acreage in the Flemish Pass after deciding to follow through on the 2009 Mizzen discovery; other oil and gas companies opted not to pursue exploration in this region.

“It’s extremely important for a company to recognize when it is exposed to a highly prolific oil system,” said Dodson. “Too many people walk away from these systems, in Norway in particular.”


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Karen Boman has more than 10 years of experience covering the upstream oil and gas sector. Email Karen at


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