Shell Lowers Expectations for Norwegian Find

Shell's expectations of a possible giant gas field on Norway's continental shelf are fading fast as tests reveal water instead of natural gas, regional newspaper Stavanger Aftenblad said on Wednesday. Exploration drilling at the Presidenten field hit on hydrocarbons in initial tests before Easter, prompting media speculation about the biggest-ever find after Troll, which accounts for 60 percent of Norway's total gas reserves. "Sources say that water has been found underneath the gas layer which was announced as a possible large find before Easter," Stavanger Aftenblad said.

Shell will not speculate on the results until additional tests have been completed. Results will be announced sometime around the beginning of April.

Shell is the operator with 30% interest; Petoro holds a 30% interest and TotalFinaElf and Statoil each hold a 20% interest.