Statoil and ExxonMobil Swap Norwegian Acreage

On January 1, 2002, Statoil took over operatorship and a 20 percent stake in the F-prospect of the Barents Sea from ExxonMobil. The area, which lies 150 kilometers east of the Statoil-operated Snohvit field, consists of three exploration licenses.

"The transaction will strengthen Statoil's position in the Barents Sea, where there is potential for major oil and gas finds," reports exploration vice president Yngve Vassmyr. "If the F-prospect is shown to contain gas, this could also contribute to the development of the Snohvit field."

Statoil has also received an 11.1 percent share in an exploration license in block 33/1 (production license 152) on Tampen in the North Sea. Tampen is one of the group's core areas on the Norwegian continental shelf and is also the home of the Statfjord and Gullfaks fields.

Statoil will have a 70 percent stake in PL 152 when the exchange is completed and Petoro will have a 30 percent stake. In return, ExxonMobil has received a three percent stake in an exploration area near the Norsk Hydro operated Grane field in the south of the Norwegian sector of the North Sea. Statoil sold itself out of the Grane field last year, but kept 15 percent of the exploration part of production license 169. Following the exchange Statoil's share is 12 percent.

ExxonMobil is heavily involved in the Grane, Jotun, Balder and Ringhorn fields in this area.