This is the first time Statoil is shooting seismic in the country.
Statoil was awarded operatorship for two land-based licenses in Libya in an exploration and production sharing agreement licensing round in the autumn of 2005. The company consequently secured a foothold in a promising oil and gas region.
"The desert areas we're now involved in are little explored in relation to petroleum resources," says Geir Richardsen, Statoil's exploration manager for Libya and Egypt.
"A few wells have been drilled in the area, but that was in the 1960s and 70s. This will be demanding, both logistically and technically, but we're well equipped to deal with the challenges posed."
Statoil and UK gas company British Gas (BG) are licensees in Kufra 171 with a 50% share each. The companies have committed themselves to gathering the 2,000 kilometers of 2D seismic and to drilling two exploration wells in the license.
"A work team of around 200 people, most of them employed in the Chinese company BGP, have set up camp in the area," says Mr. Richardsen.
"The license, which covers some 10,000 square kilometers, is mainly covered by dunes and desert landscape."
Gathering of seismic from the other Statoil-operated license, Cyrenaica 94, begins in April. Statoil has a 100% share here. The company is committed to gathering 3,000 kilometers of 2D seismic and to drill one exploration well. The license lies in the north of the country, near the Egyptian border.
Experience from neighboring country Algeria will be useful when gathering of seismic data begins in Libya. In Algeria, the group is operator of its first onshore exploration well in the Hassi Mouina license. During the second half of 2008, Statoil will drill the first exploration wells in Libya.
The group opened its office in Libya's capital Tripoli in 2005.
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