Statoil Says Antares a Duster

Exploration well 6406/3-7 has been completed by operator Statoil on the Antares prospect in production license 314 in the Norwegian Sea without encountering mobile hydrocarbons.

The group now plans to drill three further exploration wells in this part of the Halten Bank area, which lies south of the Asgard field.

Drilled from the West Alpha semisub 275 meters of water, the 6406/3-7 well was intended to probe for oil and gas in Jurassic sands.

"We're naturally disappointed that the well turned out to be dry, but it was important for clarifying the potential of this area," says Tim Dodson, Statoil's senior vice president for exploration on the Norwegian continental shelf.

Drilled to a total depth of 4,502 meters below sea level, the well terminated in early Jurassic sediments. It has now been permanently plugged and abandoned.

Mr. Dodson says that the three other interesting projects available in the area are due to be drilled this year and in 2007.

"These operations will be carried out in quick succession, and will be important for clarifying the potential of the area," he reports.

Since Antares lies in a different geological area from the new wells, it has no significance for the probability of discoveries with them or the estimated resources they might contain.

Statoil has a 45% interest in PL 314, with Hydro holding 35% and ExxonMobil 20%.

West Alpha is now due to spud an exploration well in PL 255, operated by Shell.

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