Statoil Set for Barents Sea Exploration

"Having tested our oil spill preparedness plans ahead of the imminent drilling operations in the Barents Sea, we can now confirm that they perform as planned," said Knut Harald Nygard, Statoil's new exploration manager for the Barents Sea.

The three operators, Statoil, Eni and Lundin, together with NOFO (Norwegian Clean Seas Association for Operating Companies) and local task forces jointly planned and carried out an extensive oil spill response drill on Soroya in West Finnmark.

"We're very experienced when it comes to exploration in the Barents Sea and are keen to test out our emergency response plans before embarking on a new exploration campaign with Eni and Lundin. It's important to ensure that the cooperation between the companies, NOFO and local task forces works really well before we commence drilling. We are pleased to have achieved our goals for the drill," said Nygard.

Drill leader Torun Måseide states that all planned drill elements were carried out and that the companies involved are satisfied with the results.

"We have verified that we meet all requirements in our emergency plans," said Maseide.

In addition to NOFO's four ocean going collection systems, consisting of a total 11 vessels with containment booms and collection devices, the Norwegian Coastal Administration and inter-municipal oil spill protection agency in Mid and North Troms supplied personnel and resources for cleaning up the oil along the coast.

The three operator companies will shortly commence four exploration wells in the Barents Sea, the first of which will be drilled by Eni. Statoil will then drill two wells and Lundin one, the first exploration wells drilled in the Barents Sea since 2008. The mobile rig Polar Pioneer will be used on all of them.

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