Statoil Awarded Four Brazilian Operatorships

Operatorships for four deepwater blocks and interests in two other licenses on the Brazilian continental shelf have been secured by Statoil in the country's sixth licensing round.

One operatorship has been awarded to the group as sole licensee, while state oil company Petrobras has 40 percent in the three others.

Statoil has a 40 percent interest in the two licenses where it is a partner, with Petrobras as operator holding the remaining 60 percent.

"We are very satisfied with the awards," says Bill Maloney, senior vice president for global exploration in the International Exploration & Production business area.

"These were the blocks we applied for after starting work early this year on surveying the area in question."

All six of the blocks are located just off the Brazilian coast, south of the city of Salvador. Water depths in the area vary from 1,000-2,500 meters.

The Statoil-operated blocks are in the order of 2 420 square kilometers, while Petrobras is operator for some 1 360 square kilometers.

By comparison, the average Norwegian North Sea block is about 500 square kilometers. The awards commit Statoil to carrying out a seismic survey program, due to start next year, and to drilling at least two exploration wells in the six blocks.

According to Mr Maloney, the group hopes to spud its first well on one of the blocks during 2006 after interpreting the results of the seismic program.

Statoil is already involved in four Brazilian offshore blocks, including one as operator. The latest awards are important for its assessment of the commitment to Brazil, says Mr Maloney.

Licenses in Brazil are awarded in an auction process run by the national ANP petroleum agency. Sealed bids are submitted, and the highest offer wins the acreage.