Norway's Statoil Hit By Dry Wells Off Angola, US Gulf


OSLO, Sept 4 (Reuters) – Norwegian oil firm Statoil has drilled dry wells in two areas in which it had high expectations, off Angola and in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico, hitting its shares and raising questions over whether its successful exploration run is coming to an end.

Statoil was the most successful offshore explorer last year, discovering more oil and gas resources than any other oil company in the world.

It has great hopes for drilling in the pre-salt formations off Angola, where it said billion-barrel discoveries were possible. It was also hopeful that it could find hydrocarbons in the Martin prospect in the Gulf of Mexico.

Both wells were estimated to contain a total of more than 250 million barrels of oil equivalent (boe), or 100 million boe net to Statoil. But on Thursday the firm said both wells were disappointing.

"Not an exploration rock star anymore?" Swedbank analyst Teodor Sveen Nilsen said in a note to clients. "We must admit 2014 has been disappointing this far with poor results both in the Barents Sea, GoM (Gulf of Mexico) and Angola."

Statoil shares were down 1.43 percent at 0730 GMT, lagging the European oil and gas index, down 0.17 percent.

"It is affecting somewhat the share at the moment," said Kjetil Bakken, an analyst at brokerage Carnegie. "It is fair to say that the Angola well could have been something big had they found something."


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