Drilling Commences on Skuld

Statoil has commenced drilling exploration well 16/2-2 in the North Sea with Dolphin Drilling's semisubmersible Byford Dolphin. The purpose is to determine whether there is oil or gas in the Skuld prospect. Skuld lies directly south of the Balder and Grane fields, which are operated by ExxonMobil and Norsk Hydro respectively.

The well will be drilled in tertiary layers to a total depth of 1,900 meters. Drilling is expected to take three to four weeks.

The Skuld well is being drilled in production license 265, which was awarded to Statoil and its partners in last year's North Sea licensing round.

Statoil has a 30 percent interest in the license, the state's direct financial interest has a 30 percent interest, ExxonMobil has a 25 percent interest and Enterprise Oil holds the remaining 15 percent.