NPD Happy with 2006 Exploration So Far

Exploration activity on the Norwegian continental shelf has been considerably higher in the first half of 2006 than in 2005, according to the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate (NPD).

One major discovery has been made, Goliat in the Barents Sea. There is also considerable success in mature areas.

As of July 6, 2006, 13 exploration wells have been spudded and 12 have been completed on the Norwegian continental shelf. There is currently activity in four exploration wells.

"While there was less exploration activity on the Norwegian shelf in 2005, exploration has increased this year,” said NPD Director General Gunnar Berge. That goes for both wildcat and appraisal wells.

Two oil discoveries have been made to date in 2006: one in the Barents Sea and one in the North Sea. A number of appraisal wells have also been drilled with encouraging results.

Eni completed exploration well 7122/7-3 on Goliat South in the Barents Sea earlier this year. As well as delimiting the actual discovery the well was deepened, and oil was found in the Kobbe formation in rocks of middle Triassic age.

"The discovery in the Kobbe formation is considered very positive as it proved a petroleum potential which had not previously been confirmed in that part of the Hammerfest basin," says Berge. The discovery will be of great significance for the future exploration of adjacent areas of the Barents Sea. Another appraisal well is planned on Goliat this autumn.

Through appraisal well 6506/11-8 in the Norwegian Sea, Statoil has confirmed the extent of the 6506/11-7 discovery that was made in 2001--the so-called Morvin discovery. The well is presently being plugged. The discovery is located 8 kilometers west of the Åsgard field.

Four appraisal wells have been drilled in the North Sea. North of Sleipner, Statoil has confirmed a discovery of oil and gas in appraisal well 15/3-8 on the discovery 15/3-1 Gudrun. Data collection from the well has provided good information that supports development. The well was also production-tested.

In the southern part of the North Sea, Talisman has drilled two appraisal wells. Well 15/5-16 S has proven gas resources additional to the discovery 15/12-12 Rev, which Talisman is planning to develop. Rev is the new name of the field previously known as Varg South. West of the Ula field Well 7/8-5 S has delimited the discovery 7/8-3 Krabbe, which was proven in 1983 by Conoco. A development is currently being considered in connection with the now-closed Mime field, which was operated by Hydro. Hydro handed the area back to the authorities. Afterward, Mime was awarded and handed back once more before Talisman received the area in APA 2003 (APA is the acronym for “Award in Predefined Areas”). The well was drilled in production license PL 301 and is the first one to be drilled in a APA area.

"What's happening in the area now shows clearly that there is still much to find in mature areas of the Norwegian continental shelf," said Berge.

In the Gullfaks area, Statoil has discovered oil in exploration well 34/10 -49 S. An appraisal well has also been drilled in this area in the discovery 34/10-23 Valemon, proving hydrocarbons. A number of discoveries have been made in this area during the last few years. It is important to find additional resources around Gullfaks that can utilize the existing infrastructure on the field.

There is currently activity in four exploration wells. In the Norwegian Sea, Statoil is drilling two exploration wells: Well 6403/6-1 in the Møre basin and Well 6608/11-5 northeast of the Norne field. In the eastern part of the North Sea, ExxonMobil is drilling exploration Well 9/4-5.

A total of 12 exploration wells were spudded last year, nine of which were wildcat wells and three appraisal wells. The NPD expects that the number of exploration wells to be spudded in 2006 will range from 20-25.

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