Two New Discoveries on the Norwegian Shelf in the First Half of 2005

Norwegian Shelf 6406
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As of June 27, 2005 six wildcat wells had been spudded on the Norwegian continental shelf. Two of these are still being drilled. Two new discoveries have been made, a gas discovery in the Norwegian Sea and an oil discovery in the North Sea.

In the Norwegian Sea, A/S Norske Shell has proven gas in wildcat well 6406/9-1 (in the so-called President license) in sandstone from the Jurassic Age. This is the largest gas discovery proven on the Norwegian Shelf since 1997, and it may contain as much as 60 billion Sm3 recoverable gas. Extensive collection of cores and logs has been carried out, and two production tests have been conducted with good results. An appraisal well is planned for next year to confirm the size. The Norwegian Petroleum Directorate finds this discovery to be very interesting for the further development of this area of the Norwegian Sea.

In the North Sea, Hydro has proven oil with gas in wildcat well 35/11-13 in sandstone from the Jurassic Age. The well was drilled on a prospect due north of the Fram field. The discovery is located in an area with developed infrastructure for production of hydrocarbons. Therefore, the possibility of the discovery being commercial is considered to be good. This confirms that profitable discoveries can still be made in mature parts of the shelf.

Activity is currently underway in two wildcat wells; Statoil's well 6302/6-1 on the Tulipan prospect in the MÝre basin, and Hydro's well 6605/8-1 on the Stetind prospect in the VÝring basin. Both are being drilled in relatively unexplored areas of the Norwegian Sea, and they are considered to be important for understanding the geological development of these areas.

At the beginning of the year, the licensees on the Norwegian shelf had reported plans for drilling 25-35 wildcat wells from mobile rigs and 5-10 wildcat wells from fixed installations to the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate. However, the market for drilling rigs has been very tight, and the NPD does not expect the companies will be able to drill all of their planned wildcat wells in 2005.

In addition to the tight rig market, there have been significant delays in connection with drilling operations on the Norwegian shelf in the first six months of the year.

Several interesting new wells will be spudded in the second half of 2005. Drilling activity is planned in the Barents Sea, in the deepwater areas of the Norwegian Sea and in unconfirmed plays in the North Sea.

As of today, 23 mobile rigs are qualified to drill on the Norwegian continental shelf.

"The Norwegian Petroleum Directorate believes it is important that the oil industry increases its efforts to bring in more rigs, so that exploration activity on the Norwegian shelf can increase," says Director General Gunnar Berge.

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