Statoil's Arctic Summer Exploration Campaign Fails
OSLO, Aug 7 (Reuters) – Statoil has failed to find any oil in its summer campaign in the Norwegian Arctic, an area which the firm has called an "exploration hot spot" with high potential.
Statoil said its third well in the Hoop prospect, among the northernmost wells drilled anywhere, showed only a small pocket of uncommercial gas. Two previous wells showed no oil and only small amounts of gas.
Oil firms are drilling aggressively in the Norwegian Arctic this year but most wells have disappointed so far, dampening appetite for the region as its lack of infrastructure and remote, harsh environment make any development more expensive than in mature areas such as the North Sea.
"We are naturally disappointed with the results of this summer's drilling campaign in the Hoop area," said Irene Rummelhoff, Statoil's vice president for exploration in Norway.
"We have confirmed a working petroleum system in Hoop, but need to work further to understand the migration and where the oil has accumulated," she added.
The government is preparing to open up to exploration the eastern part of its Barents Sea after Norway and Russia settled a 40-year border dispute.
Statoil's Snoehvit gas field is the only Arctic Barents Sea field to have started production while ENI's Goliat, the first oil development in the area, has been delayed and costs have risen by 50 percent from initial plans.
Statoil put on hold its $15.5 billion Johan Castberg development, which could contain up to 600 million barrels of oil equivalents.
Although Castberg is large, its distance from shore and lack of infrastructure in the area make development too expensive.
(Reporting by Balazs Koranyi, editing by Jason Neely)
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