Operatorship of Gjoa Discovery to be Split

The partners in production license 153 have unanimously resolved that Gaz de France Norge (GdFN) and Statoil will split the operatorship for the Gjoa discovery in the North Sea.

The former operator, Norsk Hydro, reached agreement with GdFN last autumn on transferring its 30 per cent holding in the find to the French company.

The licence then recommended that Statoil serves as development operator for Gjoa, with GdFN taking over in the production phase. This model has now been approved by the authorities.

"We see great value in a solution which lets us use our broad experience of picking development solutions," says Statoil's Alv Bjorn Solheim, vice president for business development in Exploration & Production Norway.

"At the same time, it's interesting to collaborate with companies which bring different experience to the Norwegian continental shelf."

Gjoa will rank as the first GdFN operatorship on the NCS, and could allow the company to build up an operations organization in Norway.

It already cooperates with Statoil over the Snohvit development in the Barents Sea, where the French company is a partner.

Proven in 1989, Gjoa lies in blocks 35/9 and 36/7 about 70 kilometers north of Troll. Recoverable reserves are put at 25 billion cubic meters of gas and almost 50 million barrels of oil.

Mr. Solheim reports that several options are being considered in the search for a profitable development solution. The gas could be developed with a subsea template tied back to existing infrastructure in Norway's nearby Tampen area or on the UK continental shelf, for instance.

A production ship might then be used to recover the oil in the field.

If Gjoa is declared commercial, a plan for development and operation might be submitted in late 2005 or early 2006. Production could then start in 2008.

Apart from GdFN with 30 percent and Statoil with 20 percent, partners in PL 153 are Petoro with 30 percent, Shell with 12 percent and RWE Dea Norway with eight percent.