Statoil & Partners Carve Up North Sea License

Statoil and the other licensees in BP-operated production license 261 west of the Norne field in the Norwegian Sea have resolved to carve out part of this acreage.

Plans call for ChevronTexaco to acquire a 65 percent holding in a separate new license, which will be designated PL 261B. The US company will also be operator.

After the transaction with ChevronTexaco, Statoil will have a seven percent interest in PL 261B. It is also acquiring three percent from BP to give a total holding of 10 percent. RWE Dea has bought 4.5 percent of the new license from BP to achieve a 15 percent interest. BP will be left with a 10 percent holding.

These transactions are conditional on approval by the Norwegian authorities.

The partners in PL 261B plan to drill an exploration well on this acreage next year. "We want to see active exploration and production in the Norwegian Sea," says Knut Chr Grindstad, exploration manager for Statoil's Halten/Nordland business cluster.

"The exploration model in this case is high-risk, and we've therefore recruited an extra participant. In return, ChevronTexaco has undertaken to drill the well."

Interests in the existing PL 261 license remain unchanged, with BP holding 50 percent, RWE Dea 30 percent and Statoil 20 percent.