Good Outcome for Statoil on Norwegian 18th Licensing Round

Four new operatorships on the Norwegian continental shelf have been offered to Statoil in Norway's 18th offshore licensing round.

The group has also been offered interests in another five production licenses. Three of the nine holdings are in the North Sea and the rest in the Norwegian Sea.

"We're satisfied with this result," says Tor Fjæran, Statoil's senior vice president for exploration on the NCS.

"We're pleased that our expressed willingness to make a commitment to the whole NCS has been appreciated.

"With this substantial set of awards, we've laid the basis for increased exploration activity and hopefully many new discoveries in coming years."

A total of 95 blocks were put on offer, making this round one of the largest-ever on the NCS. Applications were submitted by 18 companies.

The operatorships offered to Statoil lie the Norwegian Sea. In addition come license interests in both the North and Norwegian Seas.

After last year's oil and gas discovery in the Ellida structure, deepwater exploration in the Norwegian Sea is set to intensify.

Statoil has accepted substantial work commitments in the 18th licensing round, Mr. Fjæran reports.

"The exploration risk is high in this round, but that is something we just have to accept if we're going to find new resources and continue developing the NCS."

He expects that the first wells on Statoil's 18th-round acreage could be spudded in 2005, with seismic surveys likely to start this year in some areas.

Statoil has been awarded interests in the following blocks:

8/6, 9/2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 - 30 percent

11/5 and 6 - 40 percent

6201/11 - 100 percent (operator)

6304/6 - 40 percent

6406/7 and 8 - 20 percent

6605/1 and 4 - 40 percent (operator)

6603/12, 6604/7, 8 and 10 - 40 percent

6403/5, 6 and 9 - 100 percent (operator)

6705/8, 9 and 11 - 80 percent (operator)