Statoil Studies Round 8, Embarks on Exploration Drilling

Norway's Statoil (NYSE: STA) is studying plans to bid in Brazil's eighth round of exploration licenses scheduled for the end of November, company Brazil manager Jorge Camargo told BNamericas.

Although Statoil is studying data for the eighth round, a decision whether to bid has yet to be taken.

"Statoil's strategy is to grow internationally and Brazil is firmly within that strategy, but our participation in round eight will depend on the geological potential of the blocks on offer," he said.

Brazil's government will offer 284 blocks in seven basins in the auction, excluding the prolific Campos basin. Statoil's interest is in 188 of the offshore blocks.

The bidding would come as Statoil embarks on an active exploratory drilling campaign in its existing blocks in Brazil.

Statoil is concluding studies in preparation to drill four exploratory wells by 2007 in the Jequitinhonha basin's BMJ-3 block, he said. The company is waiting for licenses from environmental authorities to start drilling.

Federal energy company Petrobras (NYSE: PBR) operates the block with 60%. Statoil has 40%.


Statoil also expects to drill from 2008-09 in the Camamu basin, where the company has interest in three blocks and is committed to drill two exploratory wells.

"We just concluded the 3D seismic studies and hope to analyze the data by the end of the year to decide whether to drill in 2008 or 2009," he said, declining to say how much would be invested in Brazil.

The company has interests in seven exploratory blocks in the country: three in the Camamu basin, one in the Jequitinhonha basin, one in the Campos basin and two in the Espirito Santo basin.

Statoil won two exploration licenses in the seventh licensing round in 2005 including one in the Espirito Santo block known as BM-ES-32, where Petrobras is the operator with 60%. The other is BM-C-33 in the Campos basin through a 50:50 partnership with Spanish oil company Repsol YPF (NYSE: REP) with Statoil as operator.

The licenses are at water depths of 1,000-2,600m.

Statoil has been in Brazil since 2002, when it was awarded its first concession contract for BM-J-3.

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