Lund: Barents Could Become Leading Province

The Barents Sea could become Europe's next leading offshore oil and gas province by 2020, Statoil chief executive Helge Lund said Wednesday in a speech at the Mot Nord (Looking north) conference in Bodo, Norway.

Lund attended the conference to discuss Statoil's perspectives on petroleum activities in northern Norway. He emphasized that, in addition to the Barents Sea, he finds the coast outside Nordland county in northern Norway to be among the most interesting exploration areas on the Norwegian continental shelf (NCS).

"Statoil is already engaged in activities in the Norwegian Sea and the southern areas of the NCS off Nordland, and Snøhvit is our first development project in the Barents Sea," Lund said. "Now we are ready to start exploring the northern areas off Nordland." Lund went on to explain that the interest shown by Statoil and other companies in the far north is primarily based on the assumed volume of resources. The activities in these areas reportedly also provide a unique opportunity to develop a new and stable oil and gas province.

"The Barents Sea could be a melting pot for innovation and cooperation across nations, trades, and industries," stressed Lund. He also pointed out that a safe and efficient operation is a prerequisite for Statoil to achieve long-term value creation. "No one must doubt our intense efforts to avoid incidents that could harm people or the environment," he said.

"While the Norwegian petroleum industry is on the way north, the Russians are moving westwards from their core areas in Siberia," concluded Lund. "Our and their oil and gas interests overlap in the Barents Sea. From an industrial point of view we must regard the Barents Sea as one sea. Only then can we achieve collaboration, synergies and common solutions across boundaries."

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